05/03/12 3:30 AM ET
Scioscia: Kendrick to stay sixth in the order
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
One thing you can expect to see more of, though, is Howie Kendrick batting in that No. 6 spot.
The Angels second baseman began the year as the No. 2 hitter, a spot many figured he'd thrive in while seeing more strikes with Albert Pujols on deck, but Kendrick went 9-for-46 before being moved down on Monday and has now batted sixth in three straight games, including Wednesday night against Minnesota.
Scioscia will tell you that decision had less to do with Kendrick's recent struggles and more to do with putting him in more RBI situations.
"There's so much that goes into hitting second, whether it's the situational hitting, getting on base," the Angels skipper said. "And I think Howie's shown in his career he's really comfortable in RBI spots, particularly hitting somewhere in the middle where you might get more opportunities. It's a look we're going to go with for a while."
Scioscia has done a lot of experimenting with his struggling lineup, which came into Wednesday ranked 23rd in the Majors in runs and hadn't recorded a double-digit-hit game since April 21. The three spots in the middle of the order have been pretty much stable, and the two-spot was steady until Kendrick moved down.
But over the last three days, Scioscia has used Maicer Izturis, Alberto Callaspo and, on Wednesday, Vernon Wells -- who came in with a .247 on-base percentage and hadn't hit second since 2007 -- in front of Pujols.
Kendrick, who fell a double short of the cycle and notched his first multihit game since April 20 in Tuesday's 4-0 win over the Twins, is hoping his new spot gets him going again.
"With the lineup we have, when everybody's swinging the bat well, hopefully there will be a lot of guys on base," said Kendrick, who came into the series finale batting .264 with three homers. "We talked about that, and just trying to go out and just be aggressive. As a hitter, you want to try to get those runs in. That's something that I'm open to. But like I've said, as long as I'm playing, I don't care where I hit. It's all about being able to contribute."
Fast and furious: Trout flies home to first
ANAHEIM -- Angels third-base coach Dino Ebel has been clocking home-to-first times ever since he joined manager Mike Scioscia's coaching staff for the 2006 season.
He had never seen a number as low as the one Mike Trout yielded on a third-inning bunt single in Tuesday's 4-0 win over the Twins: 3.53 seconds.
"That's the first one," Ebel said. "Especially from the right side of the plate. It was pretty impressive. He's blessed with speed."
Everyone knows Trout, who led off in his first four games with the Angels but got the day off on Wednesday, can really book it down the line. But 3.53 seconds is a personal best, and almost unheard of from the right side of the batter's box.
Ebel once clocked Trout at 3.83 on a grounder from the left side, but the fact he was bunting allowed him to get some early momentum going toward first base.
"I couldn't believe it," said Ebel, who went to the video to double-check the time postgame. "That's plus running right there. It's just nice to see."
There's probably some lefty hitters who can break a 3.53 -- perhaps Ichiro Suzuki in his prime -- but from the right side, that's tough to imagine. When prompted, the only American Leaguer Ebel thought may have a chance was Blue Jays center fielder Rajai Davis.
Trout's Friday callup once again gave the Angels two incredibly fast outfielders, with Peter Bourjos being clocked at 14 seconds during an inside-the-park home run at Target Field on April 11. The two have never really raced, but the presumption is that Trout is faster from home to first and Bourjos is faster around the bases.
Bottom line: "They're both plus-plus runners," Ebel said, "so it's a good weapon to have."
Pujols announces celebrity golf tournament
ANAHEIM -- Angels first baseman Albert Pujols will host his 10th Celebrity Golf Classic -- and first on the West Coast -- at Trump National Golf Club in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., on July 26, the Pujols Family Foundation announced Wednesday.
A field of 180 golfers is expected to attend, making up 36 groups of five, each of which will be paired with a celebrity. Previous celebrity guests have included Shaquille O'Neal, Bobby Knight, Mike Piazza, Bo Jackson, Mark McGwire, Ozzie Smith and John Smoltz, among others.
"We are excited to show the people of Southern California what the Pujols Family Foundation is all about," Pujols said in a statement. "This is a great day for the Foundation, and to host our event at a course like Trump National is pretty special."
The shotgun start will take place at 10 a.m. PT, followed by a cocktail hour and dinner program, which will include a live and silent auction. All proceeds will benefit the Pujols Family Foundation, which provides assistance to orphans in the Dominican Republic as well as people suffering with Down syndrome.
The cross-town Dodgers are in talks to sign veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu, who was released by the Angels on Friday, baseball sources told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick on Wednesday. With the Dodgers, Abreu would likely serve as a fifth outfielder and lefty pinch-hitter.
Torii Hunter scored two runs in a 2-for-4 performance in the Angels' 9-0 win over the Twins on Wednesday, giving him 1,000 runs for his career.
The consecutive shutouts by Jered Weaver (no-hitter) and Jerome Williams mark the first time the Angels had done that since Sept. 28-29, 2006, vs. the Athletics. It's the first back-to-back individual shutouts since Bert Blyleven and Kirk McCaskill on Aug. 2-3, 1989.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.