07/07/12 10:00 PM ET
Williams ready to hit ground running after break
By Joe McIntyre / MLB.com
Trumbo not worried about post-Derby slump
ANAHEIM -- Don't worry about the State Farm Home Run Derby changing Mark Trumbo's swing. He's already got the perfect stroke to bring home some hardware without any alterations."I'm a guy that cuts it loose most of the time anyway, so my goal is always to put myself in a position to drive the ball," Trumbo said. "So it's not a huge adjustment for me. I mess around every once in a while and try to launch balls. It's nothing that's terribly out of the ordinary for me." Trumbo, who won the 2009 Texas League Home Run Derby in Double-A, is part of an American League squad that includes Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.
Albert Pujols, a three-time Derby participant, campaigned to Cano that his teammate be in Monday's Derby at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. And Trumbo has already gone to Vernon Wells, a 2010 Derby contestant, and former Angels slugger Garret Anderson, the '03 Derby champion, for advice.They've told him the usual -- "Take your time, have fun, use the whole field" -- but what Trumbo most needs to avoid is the famed post-Derby slump like so many participants, excluding Anderson, have experienced. Though there are extreme cases like the Twins' Justin Morneau in 2007 (26 homers before the Derby and just seven after) and Bobby Abreu in 2005 (18 homers and a .307 average before the break and just six homers with a .260 average after), most players were at or near their home-run-per-plate-appearance pace before and after the contest. Even though 30 out of the 40 Home Run Derby participants from 2007-11 saw declines in their homers-per-at-bat totals after the All-Star break, most were minor regressions. "I think there's always a risk of that. Garrett Anderson won it and had an incredible run in the second half," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Everybody's an individual. I don't think you can say it one way or the other. It is a lot of work, the Home Run Derby, if you go the whole way." Still, Trumbo isn't concerned with a dropoff after the break. Despite the potential for more than 100 swings in the competition, Trumbo said if he wears down in the second half of the season because of a Home Run Derby, there's a problem. "I feel, as a professional athlete, it's my job to stay in shape," Trumbo said. "So if I get tired after however many swings it is, that's probably not a good sign."
Scioscia tabs Mills to close first half
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced on Saturday that Minor League callup Brad Mills will be the starter for Sunday's first-half finale with the Orioles.In nine starts at Triple-A Salt Lake this season, the lefty is 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA. In his 2 2/3 innings of relief in the Minors this year, Mills has given up three runs and five hits. He last pitched in the Majors with the Blue Jays in 2011. In 48 1/3 career innings stretched across three seasons in the big leagues, Mills is 2-3 with an 8.57 ERA, all coming with Toronto. Mills' most recent start with Salt Lake came on Wednesday, when he surrendered five runs on five hits and two walks in three innings. "I think Brad's a guy that has a little bit of experience," Scioscia said. "Obviously he has been pitching very well down there until there was an experiment with the bullpen and he got a little tendinitis that came back. But his stuff is back. I think he is, right now, the best candidate we have to start on Sunday." There will be a corresponding move after Saturday's game to bring up Mills.
Joe McIntyre is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.