08/30/11 10:07 PM ET
Trout, Conger among Angels to play in AFL
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Expected to join Conger and Trout on the Scottsdale Scorpions roster are pitchers David Carpenter, Chris Scholl, Andrew Taylor and Daniel Tillman, along with infielder Jean Segura.
Right-handers Carpenter and Scholl and southpaw Taylor were Trout's teammates at Double-A Arkansas before the gifted former No. 1 Draft pick was summoned to join the Angels for the second time this season on Aug. 19.
Trout is ranked No. 1 on MLB.com's Top 50 Prospects.
Tillman and Segura -- the Angels' third-ranked prospect -- play for Inland Empire in the advanced Class A California League.
The league begins its 20th season on Tuesday, Oct. 4. The six-team league plays six days per week (Monday-Saturday) in six Cactus League stadiums in the Phoenix area. Salt River Fields at Talking Stick has been added as the new home of the Rafters in 2011, joining Mesa Hohokam Stadium (Solar Sox), Peoria Sports Complex (Javelinas), Phoenix Municipal Stadium (Desert Dogs), Scottsdale Stadium (Scorpions) and Surprise Stadium (Saguaros) as the league venues.
The AFL's Rising Stars Game will be staged on Saturday, Nov. 5, at Surprise
Stadium. The league championship game will be held on Saturday, Nov. 19, at Scottsdale Stadium.
With regular time, Izturis confident at plate
SEATTLE -- Having made it through the season without any injuries, Maicer Izturis looks poised for a strong finish. The Angels' gifted infielder has multi-hit performances in his past four starts and six of the past 11.
"I'm feeling good in the batter's box," said Izturis, who was making back-to-back starts at third as he led off on Tuesday night against Mariners lefty Anthony Vasquez. "When I'm playing every day, it's easier to stay in a groove. I feel confident I can have a strong finish."
Making his 105th appearance, Izturis is well within reach of his career-high 114 games played in 2009, when he batted .300 and drove in 65 runs. He's batting .277 with a team-high 29 doubles. His .322 road average is seventh best in the American League.
"I like to lead off," said Izturis, a career .310 hitter with runners in scoring position, "and I also like to drive in runs when I get the chance. I want to do whatever I can to help our team. It's the time of year when you have to win every game you can."
The Angels are 17-10 when Izturis starts at third base and 54-51 when Alberto Callaspo gets the call.
Ichiro continues to torment Angels pitching
SEATTLE -- Ichiro Suzuki and 200-hit seasons go together like the Pacific Northwest and salmon. But Ichiro is in the rare position of swimming upstream in his customary bid for the 200-hit distinction he treasures, needing to collect 47 in his final 29 games to get there. Continuing a trend with a pair of doubles in Monday night's series opener against the Angels, Ichiro appears intent on keeping his streak alive.
Even though he's hitting a substandard .275 with only 18 doubles and two triples, the Mariners' leadoff magician must be handled with care -- especially where the Angels are concerned. He's hitting .320 against them in 50 at-bats this season with six multi-hit games.
"I heard he was pretty hot," Joel Pineiro said after Ichiro banged doubles to right and left-center against him, extending his hitting streak to 12 games. "He's always been a great hitter. He can hit anything, anywhere. There's not much you can do with him when he gets going."
Ichiro has racked up 264 career hits in 197 games against the Angels, with 77 multi-hit efforts. The only players to have worked the Angels for more hits are Hall of Famers George Brett (282), Carl Yastrzemski (281) and Cal Ripken Jr. (266).
Halos get different looks from Mariners' arms
SEATTLE -- Before facing Felix Hernandez, a man they know all too well, on Wednesday night, the Angels were preparing on Tuesday to deal with a relatively unknown southpaw named Anthony Vasquez. The advance reports indicated he couldn't be much different than King Felix.
"Finesse pitcher," said Jerome Williams, who would be facing off against Vasquez. "I saw him in Triple-A [Tacoma]."
Dividing time between Tacoma and Double-A Jackson, Vasquez -- who pitched at the University of Southern California for three years -- was a combined 9-10 with a 3.57 ERA. In his Major League debut against the Indians on Aug. 23, he yielded six runs, five earned, in 5 1/3 innings.
Mike Trout, getting a start in left field with Vernon Wells in the DH role, is familiar with Vasquez.
"He throws his fastball in the 80s," Trout said. "He's the kind of guy who tries to keep you off-balance. You want to be aggressive, but not overly aggressive."
Trout homered in his most recent start, in Saturday's victory over C.J. Wilson in Texas. The elite prospect has six hits in his past 10 at-bats during a modest four-game hitting streak. He's 7-for-18 since getting recalled from Double-A Arkansas.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.