06/18/12 8:53 PM ET
Angels join MLB in weekend attendance spike
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
For the Angels, the series finale against the D-backs drew 42,222, which beat the Major League average for that day (38,779) and gave them 40,000-plus fans at Angel Stadium for a second straight game.
The Angels have drawn at least 3 million fans for nine straight seasons. Coming off a season in which they signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, putting their payroll at an all-time high of $154 million, the Angels rank 10th in the Majors with an average of 36,012 fans per game. That total is on pace to be the lowest since they won it all in 2002, but attendance usually picks up throughout the summer.
Through Sunday, Major League Baseball had drawn 30,456,031 fans in 988 dates, representing the largest in that span since '08. The 2012 attendance is 7.6 percent ahead of last year's pace, according to an MLB-issued release.
Trout comfortable making adjustments
ANAHEIM -- The sample size is quite small, and his production leading up to it was awfully large, but Mike Trout's recent skid -- 2-for-21 over his last five games -- makes you wonder whether the rest of baseball is adjusting to the rookie outfielder, honing in on specific weaknesses and attacking him differently.
Trout hasn't noticed any recent trends, though.
"Every series, there's something different, but nothing off the top of my head that comes up," he said. "I'm always making adjustments. That's the key to hitting. One at-bat, they'll pound you in, and one at-bat they'll paint you away. Just recognizing your pitch and not trying to chase early in the count."
Despite this recent small skid, Trout still sports a .324/.382/.516 slash line, with six homers and 16 stolen bases, making him an ideal candidate for the All-Star team and perhaps the American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Trout has seen more fastballs this year -- 68.2 percent, compared to 58.2 percent in his first year in the Majors, according to FanGraphs.com. On Sunday, D-backs ace Ian Kennedy retired him in his first three plate appearances with a steady diet of cutters. But his fourth time up, Trout drove a first-pitch cutter for a key RBI double.
Trout, at 20, is already uncommonly good at adjusting on the fly. It's tough to hone in on one strategy to get a hitter out when that's the case.
"I don't think we've seen anything from pitchers that Mike wouldn't expect or wouldn't understand," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "What Mike's going through right now is very routine for any player. At times, you're going to hit the ball in, and at times you're going to be facing some pitchers that are executing well."
Anderson reflects on 2002 World Series
ANAHEIM -- Standing in the Angels dugout getting ready for his current TV gig, it was hard for former outfielder Garret Anderson to feel much nostalgia while looking out on the other side, even though the Giants were visiting Angel Stadium for the first time since the Angels beat them in Game 7 for their first and only World Series title 10 years ago.
"All you see is the uniform," Anderson said. "The players are all gone."
Indeed. No player on either side played in that 2002 Series. Mike Scioscia remains at the helm of the Angels, representing a stability that's quite uncommon in this profession. But Anderson and Tim Salmon are analysts for Angels games on FOX Sports West. Dusty Baker is managing the Reds. Barry Bonds hasn't played in five years. And Mike Trout was 11 years old when the whole thing went down.
For Giants fans -- many of whom still blame the loss on Baker removing Russ Ortiz in Game 6 and handing him the game ball -- the Series was misery.
For Angels fans, it was sheer bliss -- from Salmon's heroic Game 2 home run, to the epic Game 6 comeback, to the Game 7 triumph.
"Everything had its own identity, and every game had a story in itself," Anderson said. "Obviously, Game 7 [is the most vivid memory] because we won. But every game had its own thing you can draw off of."
And while the current makeup of these teams is completely different from the Fall Classic of a decade ago, its impact is evident on the current Angels club. Back then, the Angels were off the beaten path. Now, they're a big-market club that ranks fourth in payroll and has drawn 3 million fans for nine straight seasons.
"It all started from there," said Anderson, a three-time All-Star during his 15 years with the Angels. "It definitely changed everything, in terms of more fans showing up to the park and the whole identity of the organization. It's almost like you're validated. You get your ticket, to be part of that club that's won a World Series."
Scott Downs, who hasn't pitched since June 10 because of a rib-cage injury, threw bullpen sessions Friday and Sunday and feels he's ready to return.
The Angels officially activated catcher Bobby Wilson off the seven-day concussion disabled list Monday, optioning the young Hank Conger back to Triple-A to create room on the roster. To minimize the risk of another concussion, Wilson will be switching to the traditional, heavier, more protected facemask.
The Angels once again designated reliever David Pauley for assignment, calling up infielder Andrew Romine to return to 12 pitchers and 13 position players. Pauley, who has a 4.35 ERA in 10 1/3 innings with the Angels, cleared waivers when first designated for assignment in late May.
Chris Iannetta was supposed to go on a rehab assignment last week, representing his final hurdle before a return from right wrist surgery, but he experienced tightness in his forearm while throwing. Iannetta got back to throwing Monday, but there's no telling when he'll begin a rehab assignment.
Iannetta had the surgery on May 11 and was slated to be out six to eight weeks, so he feels he's still on track.
Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) estimates being about three to four weeks away from starting baseball activities.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read 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.