05/17/11 10:57 PM ET
Scioscia bullish on raw first baseman Trumbo
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
He leads all American League rookies in homers (six), RBIs (18), hits (32), runs (15) and total bases (57) while playing solid defense.
"Absolutely," Scioscia said when asked if he can see Trumbo holding down first base all season in Kendrys Morales' absence. "But we're not looking for the rest of the season -- we're looking for tonight.
"Mark is a guy who has shown in the Minor Leagues he can figure things out. He was very raw when he signed. You see the power, and he's athletic, runs well. I'm not going to put any numbers out there, but you're looking at a position where you have to be productive.
"There are going to be strikeouts, but a lot of home runs, RBIs and runs scored. He's got a high ceiling, and hopefully he's going to reach it."
Trumbo is hitting .341 against lefties, as opposed to .207 against right-handers. He narrowly missed a homer in the 435-foot range in Texas, getting a fraction in front of a C.J. Wilson cutter in his first at-bat on Sunday and hooking it into the second deck in left field.
"I knew it was going foul as soon as I hit it," Trumbo said. "He didn't throw me any cutters on the inner half again. It's frustrating when that happens, sure, but you have to go right back to work. In the Minors, I can recall hitting one foul like that and then going deep in the same at-bat."
Bourjos indispensable despite struggles at dish
OAKLAND -- After hitting .300 in April with some power to go with his blazing speed, Peter Bourjos has struggled to a .176 clip in May, coming into Tuesday's series finale against the A's.
The Angels' center fielder is hitless in his past 17 at-bats and has one hit in his past 23 trips, with nine strikeouts.
"Pete's gripping the bat a little bit [too tightly]," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He's in a tailspin. But he's still out in center field giving us that defense we need."
Bourjos covered considerable acreage in the series opener, running down eight fly balls in a 5-4 loss. He was 0-for-4 but hit the ball hard against Brett Anderson in his first at-bat with two on and two out. Second baseman Mark Ellis made a fine play for a forceout.
"We're looking at that closely," Scioscia said when asked if he considered giving Bourjos a day to clear his head. "We don't want to give him a day off against lefties. He's still hanging in well against those guys."
A fifth lefty in six games -- Seattle's Jason Vargas -- follows Oakland's Gio Gonzalez in Wednesday night's opener of a two-game set. Right-hander Doug Fister will work Thursday's matinee.
Bourjos, who has appeared in every game, leads the Majors with five bunt hits and leads the American League with five triples. From April 17-30, he batted .388 with a 12-game hitting streak.
Weaver faces college mate Vargas in Seattle
OAKLAND -- It will be Jered Weaver for the Angels, Jason Vargas for the Mariners on Wednesday night in Seattle. The former Long Beach State teammates haven't faced off in the Major Leagues, but it did happen once before Vargas joined Weaver with the Dirtbags in Long Beach.
"He was at LSU before he transferred to a junior college and came over to us," Weaver said. "We played against each other in Louisiana one year. It was freezing cold, unbelievable. I think we won in extra innings.
"They had jugs of hot chocolate on the bench instead of Gatorade, and they had these big machines to heat the dugout. I turned ours toward the mound so I could get some warm air out there. I used to pitch with my finger out [of his glove], and it was like frozen. I've never pitched in weather like that -- not even in Chicago."
One thing Weaver doesn't have to worry about is Vargas' bat. During their final season together at Long Beach State, their shortstop was Troy Tulowitzki. Vargas was the designated hitter when he didn't pitch, and he had a higher OPS than the Rockies' star.
"Jason was a really good hitter, with a lot of power," Weaver said. "He got to swing it a little bit when he was with the Marlins. He used to throw 94, 95 [mph] in college. He's definitely become more of a pitcher, and it's good to see."
Weaver has lost three decisions in a row after winning his first six. He said there is nothing to speculation that he might be hurting physically.
"I feel great," Weaver said. "Things just haven't gone my way lately."
Downs providing immaculate relief for Angels
OAKLAND -- The Angels' bullpen has had its ups and downs this season, but Scott Downs has been close to perfect since coming off the disabled list. He fractured a toe in Spring Training and had a gastrointestinal virus that put him back on the DL after his initial return.
Appearing in 11 games, the southpaw hasn't allowed a run in 10 innings. The Angels have won eight of the games in which he has pitched. Since 2007, his 2.26 ERA in 246 2/3 innings is the best in the Majors among left-handed pitchers.
"Like any pitcher who's pitched for a while," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, "his velocity is not quite as crisp as it was five or six years ago. But he's got deception, command, changes speeds and spins the ball well. He knows how to pitch."
Downs, who signed a three-year deal with the Angels as a free agent in December, has been the hardest pitcher in the American League to take deep over the past four seasons, with 0.44 homers allowed per nine innings.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.