09/29/12 1:41 PM ET
Right now, Callaspo best suited for fifth in order
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
For the moment, though, he's the Angels' best option there.
Callaspo has now started in the No. 5 spot, between cleanup hitter Kendrys Morales and second baseman Howie Kendrick, in seven of the last eight games. The natural fit to hit fifth is Mark Trumbo, but a slash line of .192/.243/.280 over his last 57 games currently has him batting eighth. Kendrick hits with more power than Callaspo, but for some reason, he's historically better hitting sixth and seventh than he is fifth.
And with Torii Hunter tearing it up in the 2-spot, that leaves Callaspo.
"Wherever they put me, I do my job," Callaspo said in Spanish. "The key for me is just keeping my approach the same no matter what. If there are guys on base, try to bring them in. If I need to move them over, I do that."
Callaspo's raw numbers -- .256 batting, 10 homers, 53 RBIs -- are by no means flashy. But he's second on the Angels with 55 walks, despite ranking eighth on the team with 496 plate appearances heading into Friday, and he has a .291/.361/.434 slash line with runners on base.
"Right now, with the options that we have, I think Alberto's going to work a tough at-bat and put the ball in play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's proven throughout the course of his career he can hit with guys in scoring position. When you combine Alberto, Howie and [No. 7 hitter Erick Aybar], it gives you a good situational look through the middle of your lineup. He's not a prototypical No. 5 hitter, but what he brings is something that helps our lineup. He gets on base and he can hit with guys in scoring position, and hopefully he'll bring that component."
Trout sets franchise record for runs with leadoff homer
ARLINGTON -- It's still impossible to tell whether Mike Trout's rookie season will end with him beating out Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera for the American League's Most Valuable Player Award.
But it will surely finish off with some cool records for the Angels' 21-year-old center fielder.
That continued in Friday's 7-4 win over the Rangers, when Trout's leadoff homer gave him 29 on the year and set a franchise record for runs with 125, surpassing the 124 Vladimir Guerrero scored in 2004. A third-inning triple then gave Trout 173 hits, breaking Wally Joyner's Angels rookie record of 172, set in 1986.
With one more home run, he'd be the youngest player ever to have a 30-30 season. With one more homer and three more steals, he'd join Eric Davis and Barry Bonds as the only players to combine 30 homers and 50 steals in one year.
"I'm really not thinking about it," Trout said of reaching 30 homers, after hitting 23 in 286 Minor League games. "If it happens, it happens. I just want to get to the playoffs. That's all that matters to me right now."
But with the regular season now down to five games, Trout finds himself in a tight MVP race with Cabrera, who has a legitimate shot at the Triple Crown. Trout leads the AL in runs and stolen bases, while sporting the third-highest batting average (.321), but has tapered off a bit lately.
Heading into Friday, Trout sported a .247/.368/.382 slash line in September.
"I feel like I'm putting good swings on the ball," he said. "A couple of swings, I've pulled my head off. I have to stay on the pitch longer and swing at strikes, that's the main thing. I can't get myself out swinging at balls. I just have to shrink the strike zone and go up there and battle."
Morales exits game, status for Saturday uncertain
ARLINGTON -- Angels designated hitter Kendrys Morales has been nursing some soreness in his right rib-cage area for the last couple of days. Heading into Friday's game against the Rangers, it bothered him a little more than usual. And for the top of the eighth, manager Mike Scioscia decided to take him out so it doesn't get any worse, replacing him with pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun.
After his team's 7-4 win, Scioscia called it "just a little cramping."
"From the time I got here it was bothering me a little more than usual," said Morales, who struck out in his first three plate appearances batting left-handed, then hit an RBI double batting right-handed. "It wasn't from any particular swing or anything."
Morales, batting .276 with 22 homers and 72 RBIs on the year, is unsure whether he'll be able to start on Saturday afternoon.
"We'll check him out in the morning and see how he is," Scioscia said.
Workhorse Iannetta back in the Angels lineup
ARLINGTON -- Angels catcher Chris Iannetta, removed in the seventh inning of Thursday's loss to the Mariners due to leg cramps, was back in the starting lineup for the opener of a weekend series against the Rangers on Friday.
Iannetta hasn't had much of a break behind the plate lately, starting 23 of the Angels' 25 games this month. But he's been productive, batting .308 since Aug. 22 while also playing some solid defense.
And for the productive ones, this is no time to rest.
"When Chris has been healthy, even in Colorado, he's caught seven, eight days in a row no problem," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We have some built-in off-days in our schedule in September, which help alleviate a little bit of the workload. But he's a guy that we definitely feel is going to give us a presence back there that we need right now, most importantly behind the plate but also on the offensive side. He's been holding up well."
Angels outfielder Vernon Wells left the team during the later stages of Thursday's game and wasn't with them pregame on Friday, while attending to a family emergency. Manager Mike Scioscia said he expected Wells to arrive at Rangers Ballpark in time for the game and that Mark Trumbo was going to start in left field anyway.
Albert Pujols, still battling soreness in his calf stemming from the late-August series against the Red Sox, was back at first base on Friday. Since returning from the injury on Aug. 28, Pujols has started 21 games at designated hitter and seven at first base.
"There's not as much right now that you're going to do from the preventative end," Scioscia said. "We have to grind at these last six. If he's going to set himself back by playing the field the way he's doing it in the batter's box, obviously that's a huge consideration, and that's something we'll monitor on a day-to-day basis."
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.