05/04/12 2:48 AM ET
Pujols confident hits -- and homers -- will come
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
On Friday, Pujols -- the new Angels first baseman, signed to a $240 million contract just five months ago -- has a chance to drop his batting average below the Mendoza Line and set a new mark for consecutive single-season at-bats without a home run.
Publicly, at least, he doesn't look shaken.
He doesn't seem frustrated.
"Frustrated?" Pujols said. "I don't use that word."
Pujols was clean-shaven prior to the start of a four-game series against the Blue Jays, but he claims he didn't do that as any form of slump-busting technique. "Luck" is apparently not a word he uses, either.
"I don't believe in luck, man, that's not who I am," Pujols said. "I believe in God. That's the main thing. Luck is for people that are desperate, and I'm not desperate."
But by grounding out three times to third base in Thursday night's 5-0 loss to the Blue Jays -- though one of those should've been a single -- Pujols put his batting average at .202 to start the year and his homerless streak at 104 at-bats, one shy of his career high set last season.
The deepest into a season Pujols' batting average has fallen below .200 is April 20, done in 2007.
"I don't change my swing, man," Pujols said. "I stay with the same approach and just try to keep fighting. It's tough, but I've been in that situation before and I know how to handle it.
"I'm pretty sure things are going to turn the way that I want it to. It's just a matter of time."
The 32-year-old has yet to have a multihit game since the three-double night on April 19, has driven in only one run since April 15 and hasn't drawn a walk in eight straight games.
Angels starter Dan Haren saw similar early struggles from Frank Thomas when the two were with the A's together in 2006. Through the season's first month, Thomas was hitting .190 with five homers, then finished the year batting .270 with 39 homers, 114 RBIs and was fourth in American League MVP voting.
"He's obviously scuffling, everyone knows that," Haren said of Pujols. "But I think he cares more than anybody else. The guy's one of the first guys here, he's constantly looking at video in the batting cage, and it's definitely not for lack of effort because the guy's an amazing worker. It'll turn around. He's one of the best players of all-time."
A day later, Weaver still reveling in no-no glory
ANAHEIM -- More than 15 hours had passed since Jered Weaver etched his name in the record books with Wednesday night's no-hitter, but the Angels' ace still hadn't come down from that high.
"I'm still a little bit pumped up," he said while addressing a scrum of reporters from the home dugout at Angel Stadium on Thursday afternoon. "I wish I could go back out there and pitch again tonight, but my arm wouldn't let me do that."
Weaver's arm let him do a lot the night before, when he walked just one batter, struck out nine, put just two runners on base and hardly allowed any hard-hit balls in tossing the Angels' 10th no-hitter in a 9-0 victory over the Twins.
The madness of Wednesday night -- the champagne showers, the TV appearances, the hugs, the tears -- didn't end until after 3 a.m., when Weaver was finally able to settle down enough to get some sleep. He woke up at about noon, answered the 116 text messages left on his phone -- one, surprisingly, from former perfect game hurler David Wells -- and returned to the ballpark shortly thereafter.
The 29-year-old was scheduled to appear on the "Late Show with David Letterman," but problems with the production crew suspended that.
"It would've been pretty fun to do," Weaver said, sounding a bit disappointed. "I'm a big fan of his. I watch him every night."
Weaver held onto the official baseball from his no-hitter -- the one Alexi Casilla hit to semi-deep right field and Torii Hunter caught for the final out of the game -- and the lineup card. The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum got another baseball and Weaver's jersey, among other collectibles. And Weaver's father, Dave, who was nervously watching from the stands, got another ball and several pictures taken with his son.
"I couldn't believe it," Weaver said of the no-no. "I never would've thought in a million years that I'd first and foremost be in the big leagues pitching, but throw a no-hitter in the big leagues. It was very surreal. It's amazing how it's come full circle. To do that in front of your home fans and stuff, it was unbelievable."
Scioscia showing confidence in Trumbo at third
ANAHEIM -- With a nine-run lead and no-hitter on the line, you would've expected Angels manager Mike Scioscia to go with Alberto Callaspo or Maicer Izturis as a defensive replacement at third base. Instead, he stuck with Mark Trumbo -- who's still getting a feel for the position and previously went a span of 13 games with only one start at the hot corner.
That did not go unnoticed.
"That really means a lot, given the weight of what was going on and how important everything was," Trumbo said. "Yeah, we had a nine-run lead, but there's a lot more on the line. I was prepared. I was in every play. If I had something hit to me, I felt like I would've been able to get the job done."
Trumbo made only three plays during Jered Weaver's no-hitter against the Twins on Wednesday night, and two were foul popups. But the other was the type of play that's of most concern with him -- a third-inning bunt by Jamey Carroll that he charged, scooped with his glove and fired to first for the easy out.
Trumbo was back at third base for Thursday's series opener against the Blue Jays, marking the fourth time he has started in the hot corner in the last six games, but made a big two-out error in the sixth, fielding an Edwin Encarnacion grounder and throwing wide of first base to plate two runs in the 5-0 loss.
It was his fourth error in eight starts at third.
"I don't know if I can pinpoint anything other than the throw was wide," Trumbo said. "Maybe I didn't align myself as well as I could've. But I've been making progress over there, and fortunately I came back and made the next one. I'm working to get better over there. The effort's always going to be there."
Mathis back in Anaheim for first time since deal
ANAHEIM -- The start of Toronto's four-game series against the Angels was a homecoming of sorts for Jeff Mathis.
The veteran catcher spent seven seasons in Anaheim, and until an offseason deal to the Blue Jays, it was the only professional team he had ever known.
Those past memories created somewhat of an eerie feeling for Mathis when he arrived at Angel Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
"It was a little weird coming back, going into the other clubhouse," said Mathis, who is hitting .294 in seven games this season. "But it was good to see the guys. Good to be here."
The Blue Jays landed late Wednesday night, and Mathis couldn't help but check the score of the Angels game upon arrival. It was then that Mathis noticed former teammate Jered Weaver had a no-hitter through six innings.
When Toronto arrived at its team hotel, the game was in the eighth, which allowed Mathis just enough time to watch Weaver record the 10th no-hitter in Angels history.
"That was pretty fun to watch," Mathis said. "It looked like him and Chris [Iannetta] were on the same page and anytime you put up that many zeroes and then you put up a zero in the hit column too, that's pretty special.
"I saw when I landed, I pulled it up on the Internet, and it was like the sixth inning, and I saw he got through that and I was like, 'Oh, dang.' Then when we drove from LAX ... so I went upstairs and came back down to see it."
Mathis has received just 17 at-bats this season as a backup to starter J.P. Arencibia, but he has two home runs and two doubles with five RBIs during that limited action.
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. Gregor Chisholm contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.