09/03/12 9:40 PM ET
Angels activate Bourjos, and his positive attitude
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
That rehab assignment was the most action he'll see all year.
Barring an injury, Bourjos will ride the bench for whatever remains of the Angels' 2012 campaign. Since the end of April, the 25-year-old center fielder has found very little playing time in an outfield that includes a phenom (Mike Trout), a dangerous slugger (Mark Trumbo), a very productive veteran (Torii Hunter) and a high-priced reserve (Vernon Wells).
In other words, it was a lost season for Bourjos, who went from 552 plate appearances in his first full season last year -- posting a .327 on-base percentage, 11 triples and 12 homers -- to just 186 so far this year.
Bourjos prefers to look at it a different way.
"I think you can learn from this season," he said. "I was in a different role than I had been my whole career, and I think at some point I'll probably be there again, maybe towards the end of my career, where I'm not playing every day -- pinch-hitting, pinch-running, going in for defense -- and I'll be able to fall back on something, be able to handle it and know what to do, instead of being, 'Gosh, I've never done this before.' It's something to go back to. I'm going to learn from it and try to get better."
That's awfully positive thinking for a guy who just went a four-month stretch with only 32 starts, in a season that was supposed see him take a major step forward as an everyday player in the big leagues.
Bourjos tries to keep things as positive as possibly.
"You have to," he said. "I think this game's negative. It's built around negativity. You have to look at the positives. It's the only way you're going to get through it. For somebody that never played the game, you hear fans on blogs and stuff and it's all negative. I don't think they ever talk positive on there. And as a player, you have to think positive. That's the only way you're going to get through this game. It's the only way you're going to have success."
Trumbo remains baffled by vexing slump
OAKLAND -- The belief -- or, at least, the hope -- was that the boost Mark Trumbo needed to escape his head-scratching slump came Saturday, by driving in the winning runs with an eighth-inning single against Felix Hernandez. But Trumbo knows better. He knows himself in the batter's box better than anybody.
And for quite some time now, he hardly recognizes the hitter standing in it.
"I haven't had my swing for a long time now," the Angels slugger said. "So, I'm kind of doing the best I can with what I have. I haven't felt like my swing has clicked for quite a while now. It's kind of like the golfer who can't quite right the ship, always tinkering and always hoping it's going to turn around. I haven't felt right for a while now. Usually it's more a feeling than a result thing."
Trumbo can't tell you exactly when his struggles began, but if you go back to when he was named the full-time cleanup hitter on July 17, before a demotion right back to fifth, he's batting .207 with five homers and 63 strikeouts. In that span, his batting average has gone from .311 to .273, his slugging percentage from an American League-leading .634 to the current .510.
"I've had some rough first halves," Trumbo said, "but I don't think I've ever struggled in the second half. So, this is a new experience for me."
Trumbo still leads the Angels with 30 homers, but he hasn't gone deep in 12 games. In Monday's 8-3 win over the A's, he was the only starter without a hit, hitting two deep fly balls but also striking out twice on fastballs way over the strike zone.
So, Trumbo will get a mental day off on Tuesday, Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided. Vernon Wells, who reached base four times in the Labor Day victory, will take his place in the lineup.
"You want to give a guy enough room to swing his way out of a little bit of a dry spell, and Mark will get that," Scioscia said. "But I think just to give him a day and let him breathe right now is the way we should go."
It's 'wait and see' for Weaver on next start
OAKLAND -- The Angels are still unclear on the status of Jered Weaver's right shoulder, manager Mike Scioscia said prior to Monday's series opener against the Athletics.
Weaver was hit by a Dustin Ackley line drive in Sunday's fifth inning, then finished the frame and was taken out after giving up a single and a walk in the sixth.
Weaver's next turn is slated for Friday, which comes after Thursday's off-day and marks the opener against the Tigers at Angel Stadium, but that's up in the air at the moment.
Scioscia said Weaver's right shoulder was "a little tender" on Monday morning, though he hasn't received any tests yet.
"We're going to wait and see how it's feeling," Scioscia said. "... Let's get through this series and we'll see how some things set up, particularly with Weave, and then we'll have decisions."
Weaver said after Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Mariners that the shoulder "feels all right" and that the comebacker "didn't really square me up too bad, so it didn't affect anything."
Asked whether he felt the shoulder would affect his start in five days, Weaver said: "No, I don't think so. We'll see."
Weaver, 16-4 with a 2.86 ERA and an American League-low 1.029 WHIP, is expected to be counted on a lot this month. The Angels' ace was penciled in to make seven September starts, lining up mostly on normal rest in order to maximize his usage and line up for either the regular-season finale or, if his team gets there, the Wild Card elimination game.
If Weaver's shoulder affects that, the Angels will at least have some flexibility with three September off-days, and can be more comfortable with a rotation that has performed a lot better as a whole recently.
"The rotation, as much as you want to put stuff in pen, it's always in pencil," Scioscia said Sunday. Pitching coach Mike Butcher "will be ready to go with whatever options present themselves, but right now, we're going to see how things set up with Weave."
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.