06/19/12 11:44 PM ET
Williams feels better, but next step is unknown
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Richards ready for whatever Angels decide
ANAHEIM -- The present world of Garrett Richards could change drastically in less than 24 hours."I'm either going to go home tonight and pack up my stuff," Richards said, "or go home tonight and go to bed." It's part of the harsh reality of professional baseball, and it's a reality the 24-year-old Richards has accepted. The Angels will be activating Jered Weaver (strained lower back) from the 15-day disabled list prior to Wednesday's game and will have to make a corresponding roster move to open up a spot. Prior to Monday night, the obvious choice -- especially after Ervin Santana redeemed himself with a near-perfect game on Saturday -- was to send down Richards, even though he had pitched so well and has so much upside. But on Monday night, Jerome Williams continued to struggle -- now 0-3 with a 7.56 ERA over his last three starts -- and was taken to the hospital after experiencing a shortness of breath, putting this whole situation in a flux. Richards' chances of staying on Tuesday afternoon were a lot better than they were on Monday afternoon. But there's still that chance he'll be pitching for Triple-A Salt Lake by Wednesday. "There's nothing I can do about it," he said. "Like I told you guys before, they're going to make the right decision. It's not my decision to make. I took advantage of my opportunities, helped the team out and got three wins, so I'm happy." Richards can sleep easily because of how well he pitched while taking Weaver's place in the rotation, going 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA in his three starts. He credited that to trusting his stuff and being more aggressive, instead of nibbling at corners like he was prone to doing in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. "I'm happy with what I did with the opportunities that were given to me, and right now, I'm in the mindset of getting ready for my next start, or out of the 'pen, or whatever they want me to do," said Richards, who came into the season as the Angels' No. 2 prospect. "I just want to help the team win."
Trumbo putting up impressive numbers
ANAHEIM -- Asked if he ever finds himself taking a step back to beam over the numbers he's putting up, Angels slugger Mark Trumbo says: "Never. Just keep the foot on the accelerator."So, we'll do it for him. Heading into Tuesday's game against the Giants, Trumbo leads the Angels in OPS (.996), homers (16) and RBIs (42), while batting .319 with a .376 on-base percentage -- a far cry from the .254 clip and .291 on-base percentage that put a sour note on an otherwise-solid rookie season. Since May 27, Trumbo is tied for the Major League lead in homers (10) and leads all of baseball in RBIs (23). And he's currently on pace to join Vladimir Guerrero (2004) and Garret Anderson ('03) as the only players in club history to hit .315 with 20 homers and 60 RBIs before the All-Star break, pretty much making him a shoo-in for this year's Midsummer Classic in Kansas City. "I don't care about the batting average," Trumbo said. "I think people get wrapped up in what their batting average is and lose track of what's important. For me, it's driving the ball, driving in runs, getting on base, not lamenting too much over if this is falling, if that's falling. I just go out there and hit the ball hard." Trumbo may not care, but his batting average (.319) is dead even against lefties and righties, making him an ideal candidate to bat cleanup behind Albert Pujols on an everyday basis. Throughout the year, though, Kendrys Morales (.270 batting average, seven homers and 23 RBIs) has been batting fourth against righties and Trumbo has been batting there against lefties. Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't plan on changing that just yet. "For our team to really get to where we need, Kendrys really needs to be a big part of it," Scioscia said. "There's no plans right now to move him out of the cleanup spot against [righties]."
Morales trying to heat up amid limited time
ANAHEIM -- Kendrys Morales' numbers through 56 games -- .270 batting average, seven homers and 23 RBIs -- aren't ideal for a cleanup hitter and aren't the type of numbers Morales produced before having to undergo two left ankle surgeries.In many ways, he hasn't been able to get into a proper rhythm just yet. It's hard to do so when you hardly play in National League parks (Morales started one each in Colorado and Los Angeles, and none in San Diego), barely ever start against lefties (like Barry Zito on Tuesday) and are trying to get acclimated to being a designated hitter for the first time. But that's the reality of the Angels' roster and Morales' own situation this year. "It's pretty tough to get your rhythm like that, but you have to get used to it," Morales, batting .186 in June, said in Spanish. "That's how it is right now. Once someone starts adjusting better, they start playing every day, too. But right now, I'm still a little off."
With his fifth plate appearance on Tuesday night, Mike Trout now qualifies for the batting title. Trout went 4-for-4 with a walk in the 12-5 win over the Giants and is now hitting .337, trailing only Paul Konerko of the White Sox (.357) for the American League lead. Scott Downs (rib cage) made his first appearance since June 10 on Tuesday. The left-hander entered in the top of the eighth, giving up a single and a double and recording two outs on strikeouts before exiting. Outfielder Ryan Langerhans (separated right shoulder) has begun a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake.
With one more walk, Albert Pujols will have 1,000 for his career.
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.