06/23/12 10:35 PM ET
Angels 'not involved' in Youkilis trade talks
By Alden Gonzalez and Joe McIntyre / MLB.com
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Saturday that the Angels are "not involved" in trade talks to acquire Youkilis, whom reports indicate could be traded very soon. To varying degrees, the White Sox, Indians, Braves, Pirates and Dodgers have been linked to Youkilis, who has become expendable due to the emergence of Will Middlebrooks and has struggled through a career-low .670 OPS in 41 games this season.
With Mark Trumbo playing left field almost primarily, the Angels have used the slap-hitting Alberto Callaspo and Maicer Izturis at third base, a platoon that has been mostly responsible for the 12th-ranked OPS in the American League at that position (.640).
But Angels manager Mike Scioscia believes the club has enough power in other areas to be able to stomach that.
"We have enough power in our lineup, no doubt, that we're going to have better slugging percentage, and I think we're starting to see that," said Scioscia, who wasn't asked specifically about Youkilis. "Discounting the first month, with Alberto or Maicer, I think you're starting to see those guys become productive. We're starting to drive the ball better. We definitely have more slugging percentage potential on this team, which allows you to play maybe a guy like Alberto or Maicer at third base and maybe not rely on having to get power from that spot."
Youkilis is making $12 million in the final year of his contract, with a $13 million club option. Reports have said the Red Sox are willing to pay a big chunk of the three-time All-Star's remaining pro-rated share.
Player ballot helps Trout's All-Star chances
ANAHEIM -- Mike Trout's chances of making it to the All-Star Game seem to get better by the day.
The main reason, of course, is his play. Despite being called up in late April, the Angels outfielder entered Saturday ranked second in the American League in batting average (.338), first in steals (19) and has added seven homers.
The other is that he's actually listed on the player ballot.
Trout wasn't on the fan ballot that was distributed much earlier because he was in the Minor Leagues when the season began. But when Angels players received their ballot on Friday, Trout was listed among the outfielders, which means players won't have to go out of their way to write his name in and thus greatly increases his chances of accumulating enough votes.
Players vote for the reserves at each position for the All-Star Game, which will take place in Kansas City on July 10. On the Angels, you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who won't vote for Trout.
But he'll need help from the rest of the league -- a league that may have a hard time voting for someone who spent the first three weeks in Triple-A.
"The number he's put up in that leadoff spot, and as a rookie, it really doesn't matter [when he was called up]," Angels right fielder Torii Hunter said. "I've seen guys make the All-Star team and they've missed the whole month, so I definitely think he has a good chance. But if he doesn't, he's still an All-Star in my book."
And even if the players don't vote for him, Rangers manager Ron Washington -- the skipper for the AL -- is open to selecting him, regardless of his April 28 callup.
"If he's one of the best players," said Washington, who has seven selections to make, but five are pitchers. "It's an All-Star Game. It's not politics. I'm just checking to see who are the best players. That's what it is supposed to be."
The Angels could have three, maybe four -- perhaps more -- deserving All-Stars, though none are expected to be voted in as starters.
There's the 20-year-old Trout, Mark Trumbo (batting .323 with 17 homers and 48 RBIs), C.J. Wilson (8-4 with a 2.44 ERA) and Jered Weaver (7-1 with a 2.40 ERA despite missing nearly three weeks on the disabled list).
Righty Ernesto Frieri and lefty Scott Downs, who have the best combined ERA (0.64) of any relief tandem in the Majors, may also get some consideration. And Albert Pujols' reputation may get him some, too, despite his uncharacteristically low .255 batting average and 11 homers.
Kendrick prone to letting bats slip from grip
ANAHEIM -- Howie Kendrick never means to, but it has become a habit to give out a special souvenir to a lucky fan every once in awhile.
During Friday night's 8-5 win against the Dodgers, Kendrick lost the grip on his bat and it soared into the stands. It was one of a handful of times this year the second baseman has let go of his bat only to have it fly over the third-base dugout.
It's not an official statistic, but along with Kendrick, Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been known to lose his grip more often than other players. It just happens, Kendrick said.
"It's just one of those things, there's no rhyme or reason to it," Kendrick said. "Some guys just do it more than others."
Most of the time, Kendrick will let the fan keep the bat and just grab a new one out of the dugout. But when he's running low on lumber, and the one he's using has had a lot of hits in it (he has 12 hits in his last 36 at-bats), sometimes he'll ask for it back and replace it with another.
"I got the bat last night because, right now, I've been hitting the ball," Kendrick said. "I just liked that bat. It felt good. I'm trying to use the same one. Usually I'll replace it with another one, but I didn't have time. More times than not, I'll let the guy keep it."
Outfielder Ryan Langerhans was reinstated from the disabled list on Saturday and outrighted to Triple-A Salt Lake. He has only one at-bat this season and had been on the DL since May 21 with a separated right shoulder.
Reliever Hisanori Takahashi, who left Friday night's game with stiffness in his right hip, pitched a scoreless ninth inning on Saturday.
Takahashi pitched a scoreless sixth inning on Friday, then stiffened up while warming for the seventh and came out of the game.
With his stolen base in the eighth inning on Saturday, Mike Trout became the fifth rookie in Angels history with 20 or more stolen bases before the All-Star break. He's the first since Mark McLemore and Devon White accomplished the feat in 1987.
Saturday night's attendance of 44,512 was the second-largest crowd at Angel Stadium since Edison International Field of Anaheim was remodeled into Angel Stadium nine years ago. Friday night's crowd of 44,548 was the largest.
The record for attendance at a Dodgers-Angels series at Angel Stadium is 133,023, set in May 2007. In two games this series so far, there have been 89,060 fans at the ballpark, which is 43,963 short of the record with one game to play.
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. Joe McIntyre is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Reporter T.R. Sullivan contributed. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.