08/31/11 11:12 PM ET
'Impressive' Trout learning to adapt on fly
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
In the course of his second full professional season, having turned 20 just 24 days ago, the Angels' brilliant outfielder has shown that he has the aptitude and attitude to go with his otherworldly talent.
When he found he was struggling with pitches in the lower reaches of the strike zone during his first visit to the big time, Trout adapted. He lowered his stance and began to feel more comfortable taking his hacks at sinkers down in the zone. That was evident on Tuesday night when he launched a low changeup and then a low curveball by southpaw Anthony Vasquez for home runs at Safeco Field on a five-RBI night.
Trout was back in the lineup on Wednesday night, playing left field and batting eighth against reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Felix Hernandez.
"He's been really impressive," Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos said. "He and Mickey [Hatcher, hitting coach] worked on his stance, and it's paid off. He went down and hit a couple of balls that weren't even strikes.
"He's showing some power, and just as impressive as his swings are his at-bats. He knows what he's doing up there. And everyone knows how he can run. He almost beat out that routine ground ball [to third base]. He was flying."
Trout's commitment to improvement extends to defense. On the first stop of this trip, in Texas, Trout misread a play he had at home on a mid-range fly ball, hesitating and then throwing late to third base. He immediately went to the master, Torii Hunter. The nine-time Gold Glover let him know what he'd done wrong and how to prevent it.
"I won't make that mistake again," Trout vowed.
Lesson from old pal helps Aybar find groove
SEATTLE -- Every now and then, especially when he's struggling, Angels shortstop Erick Aybar thinks about lessons he learned from his mentor, Vladimir Guerrero.
"Vlad never changed his attitude," Aybar said. "I always watched him. It didn't matter what kind of game he had -- he was the same guy. Sometimes you go through bad games, but you have to stay the same person.
"I was having a hard time [offensively] last month, but I didn't take it on the field [defensively]. That's part of staying the same. You have to stay confident and know it's going to come. What you have to do is think about the team, not yourself. Do whatever you can to help the team win and don't worry about how you're hitting."
Aybar took a 10-game hitting streak into Wednesday night's assignment against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners. Back in the leadoff spot after hitting down in the order, Aybar has eight RBIs during the streak.
"Before, I was trying to do too much," he said. "Now I'm more relaxed. I'm seeing the ball better -- and not swinging at everything."
Callaspo draws start at third in place of Izturis
SEATTLE -- Mike Trout and Alberto Callaspo in, Maicer Izturis and Vernon Wells out.
With multi-hit efforts in five consecutive games and seven in his past 12 starts, Izturis has been on a roll at the top of the Angels' lineup. But he was replaced at third base on Wednesday night by Callaspo with the Mariners sending Felix Hernandez out to face Dan Haren.
Callaspo is 1-for-8 on the road trip compared with Izturis' 6-for-13. Callaspo is batting .238 in 21 at-bats against Hernandez, while Izturis is a .262 hitter against King Felix in 42 at-bats.
Wells, batting .375 on the trip and a .240 hitter against Hernandez in 25 at-bats, took a seat on the bench with sizzling Trout in left field. The big boppers against Hernandez have been Mark Trumbo and Jeff Mathis, with two homers each. Trumbo's have come in six at-bats, Mathis' in 30. Both were in the lineup.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated that the Angels' 14-3 record when Trout starts wasn't a major factor in the decision to play him following his two-homer, five-RBI effort on Tuesday night.
"A lot of factors go into those [won-loss] numbers," Scioscia said. "He has definitely contributed. We've talked about Mike for a while. I don't think he'd be a candidate for these opportunities if he wasn't mature physically, and he has kept his wits about him."
Successful surgeries for Jepsen, Cron
SEATTLE -- Reliever Kevin Jepsen and first baseman C.J. Cron each underwent successful surgeries on Wednesday, according to an Angels spokesman.
Jepsen, a valuable setup man in 2009 and 2010, submitted to arthroscopic surgery to evaluate his right knee. He received an injection as well and will begin a therapy program shortly.
Cron, the team's first-round pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, underwent an arthroscopic procedure to address damage he sustained after dislocating his right patella earlier this month playing for the Rookie League Orem Owlz. The surgeries were performed by Dr. Thomas Carter with assistance by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Arizona. Both players are expected to make full recoveries and be ready for Spring Training.
Jepsen, sent to Triple-A Salt Lake after experiencing control issues for the Angels in the first week of the season, returned to the Majors on May 11 and was returned to Salt Lake a month later.
Cron showed his power at Orem with 13 homers and 41 RBIs in 34 games, batting .308.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.