06/29/11 8:00 PM ET
Izturis' foot forces him to sit
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
"Izzy's foot is a little sore," manager Mike Scioscia said before the series finale against Washington. "He's available tonight [for pinch-hitting or defense], and we're going to try to get him in the lineup [on Friday against the Dodgers]."
Izturis, whose 10th-inning RBI single gave the Angels the win in the series opener on Monday night, hasn't played since driving the ball through the middle for that winning run.
"I'm not sure how I hurt it," Izturis said. "I think I hit it against a base and jammed my foot, but I'm not sure when it happened."
Izturis, who first aggravated the foot in Seattle and again on Monday, is batting .318 as a leadoff man and has a .320 average in his past 20 games.
Scioscia sticking with Torii batting second
ANAHEIM -- The experiment -- Torii Hunter batting second -- continued in Wednesday's Interleague series finale against the Nationals at Angel Stadium.
The early returns haven't been positive, with Hunter batting .147 in eight starts as the second hitter. But manager Mike Scioscia evidently thinks Hunter is due to bust out in the unfamiliar spot after spending virtually his entire career hitting anywhere from third to seventh, with his greatest success in the fourth and sixth spots.
"We're trying to get Torii in a comfort level," Scioscia said, Hunter having made his first start on Tuesday night since banging against the wall in Florida and missing four starts and three games with a posterior rib contusion. "He's never been a prototypical cleanup hitter. Vernon [Wells] is better suited for that. It flowed well last night with Torii in the two-hole."
Hunter, whose 43 RBIs in Interleague Play are second in the Majors over the past three seasons, went 1-for-5 with a walk in the Angels' 11-5 win on Tuesday night. The Angels are 4-4 when he bats second. Scioscia wants to see Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Wells connected in some fashion in the order.
With Maicer Izturis sitting out his second straight game with a bruised foot, Hunter was slotted between Erick Aybar and Abreu in the lineup, followed by Wells, Howard Kendrick, Alberto Callaspo, Mark Trumbo, Peter Bourjos and Jeff Mathis.
The Angels have been highly effective lately with Izturis and Aybar setting the table. Scioscia said that Aybar hitting in the No. 6 spot is an option when Izturis returns, maintaining that Aybar's base-stealing ability -- he leads the team with 16 steals in 18 attempts -- can also be effective farther down in the lineup as well as up top.
With a .328 average in June and his blazing speed forcing errors and turning heads, Bourjos seems to be making a bid for a spot high in the order, especially against left-handed pitching. The Angels are 6-2 when Bourjos leads off, and he's hitting .295 against southpaws. He has not batted second this season.
Offense catching fire behind Wells, Trumbo
ANAHEIM -- Vernon Wells' first two months with the Angels were nothing to write home to Arlington, Texas, about, but he is finding his groove, and his team is rocking and rolling with him pounding out the backbeat.
With 11 wins in the past 16 games, the Angels have roared to life, with an offense producing the long ball to go with small ball. Wells' booming bat -- he has six homers and 13 RBIs during the run -- has been the elixir, along with production from rookies Mark Trumbo and Peter Bourjos and some more familiar names, such as Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis and Howard Kendrick.
Trumbo, who is on pace to hit 26 home runs, leads American League rookies with 13 nearing the midway mark, and also has 122 total bases, 30 runs and 15 doubles. He has hit safely in nine of the past 10 games and has 10 RBIs in his past 12 games.
Bourjos, regaining his mojo after a dismal May, is batting .328 this month, making steadier, harder contact.
Aybar has a nine-game hitting streak with eight RBIs and leads the Angels with a .339 average with runners in scoring position. Izturis has hit safely in 16 of the past 20 games and is batting .320 over that span. Kendrick is riding an eight-game hitting streak, during which he has batted .324.
"It's morphing into something that in some ways we could expect and in some we didn't," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're trying to find some continuity with Mark and Howie. As long as we continue to deepen our lineup, it'll continue to go in the right direction. Hopefully, we're not going to go back to where we were three weeks ago."
Nationals' Johnson impressed with Bourjos
ANAHEIM -- In close to a half-century in the game, Davey Johnson has seen, managed and played alongside a lot of swift center fielders. The Angels' center fielder, Peter Bourjos, has made quite an impression on Washington's new field commander.
"I like him a lot," Johnson said before Wednesday's series finale. "He's real quiet at the plate and short to the ball. He's got blazing speed. And he looks like a tough kid, with the kind of makeup you like to see in a player."
Bourjos has become familiar to fans nationally because of his highlight-reel plays, but it's his ability to play the game with attention to fundamental detail that catches the eye of such astute talent evaluators as Johnson, who was managing Team USA in international competition before hooking up with the Nats.
Bourjos has been durable, appearing in all but three of the team's 81 games, and he has erased the blahs of May (when he hit .176) with a superior June, batting .328 while continuing to play at a Gold Glove level defensively.
With five hits in 10 at-bats against Johnson's Nationals, Bourjos has lifted his average to .262.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.