04/24/2013 2:13 AM ET
Angels' speed isn't translating into stolen bases
By Alden Gonzalez and William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- One of the most surprising stats in the early portion of the Angels' season may be their stolen-base numbers. Heading into Tuesday's game against the Rangers, they had only six, fewer than 24 other teams despite having two of baseball's fastest players -- Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos -- in their regular lineup.
Trout had three of the Angels' steals, while Bourjos -- stranded on first base while representing the tying run in Monday's ninth inning -- has yet to even attempt a stolen base despite having a .355 on-base percentage.
Part of the reason for the low numbers is that Erick Aybar has been out since April 9. Another could be that Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mark Trumbo have been directly following Bourjos and Trout in the lineup, making manager Mike Scioscia less willing to sacrifice an out or put pitchers in position to give an intentional walk.
But the Angels' skipper said his typically aggressive philosophy "hasn't changed."
"We're going to stay as aggressive as we can," Scioscia added. "There's a little more that goes into it than just the stolen base, as far as what it maybe does for some matchups or taking the bat out of somebody's hands that you always consider. But I don't think there's anything that's going to keep us from being aggressive because it's part of what we need to do on the offensive side."
Scioscia tabs Roth for first big league start
ANAHEIM -- All indications suggested Jerome Williams would get Wednesday's start against Yu Darvish and the Rangers, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia called an audible.
Minutes after the Angels completed a 5-4 walk-off win over the Rangers on Tuesday night, Scioscia announced that rookie Michael Roth would make his first Major League start in the series finale.
"I'm looking forward to pitching my game and [playing] some baseball," Roth said.
Scioscia opted to go with Roth because he feels it gives the bullpen better options.
"It's going to be a staff day, unless Michael Roth goes and gets through six innings," Scioscia said. "It doesn't have to be one, but I think we can back him up with some guys if we have to. I think he's a good candidate, and it gives us more options where we can use Jerome if we have to."
Williams threw 36 pitches in three innings on Sunday, while Roth's last appearance was just four pitches on Monday night.
The Angels selected Roth in the ninth round of the 2012 Draft. Roth spent 2012 in rookie ball and began the this season with Double-A Arkansas.
"My arm feels good," Roth said. "I haven't thrown out of the 'pen on back-to-back days yet. I think I'll be all right. My last start in Double-A was five innings. I'm just going to go out there inning by inning, as cliché as that sounds. Go out there and have some fun."
Since making his Major League debut on April 13, Roth has appeared in four games, thrown five innings and posted a 3.60 ERA.
Angels dealing with lots of bullpen turnover
ANAHEIM -- It's safe to say this was not the way Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto drew up his bullpen.
Prior to Tuesday's game, the Angels called up lefty Nick Maronde from Double-A Arkansas, sending shortstop Tommy Field back to Triple-A Salt Lake because Sean Burnett's tight left forearm would have left them shorthanded for a couple of days. If you're scoring at home, that's five relievers called up from the Minor Leagues over the last two weeks (Maronde, Dane De La Rosa, Michael Roth, Michael Kohn and David Carpenter).
"It's certainly been difficult," Dipoto said.
At the moment, five members of the Angels' Opening Day bullpen are unavailable as relievers. Jerome Williams is expected to start on Wednesday, with Tommy Hanson on the bereavement list. Garrett Richards is already taking the rotation spot of Jered Weaver (broken left elbow). Kevin Jepsen has been on the disabled list since April 13 because of a right shoulder strain and isn't expected to pick up a baseball for at least another week. Mark Lowe has been out since Saturday with a neck strain and won't be eligible to be activated until May 5.
And now Burnett is out, though the Angels don't expect him to have to go on the DL.
"It's just part of the process of coming back from the spurs probably," Burnett said of his forearm tightness. "I got more range of motion [after offseason surgery to remove bone spurs] and was able to do more with the ball than I had in the last probably year or two. It's just part of the process, I guess. I'm going to try to be careful early on, not have that drag on and be feeling it in July and stuff."
Burnett said his forearm felt "pretty good" when he last appeared in a game on Sunday, throwing a scoreless eighth inning in an eventual walk-off win against the Tigers. The tightness, he said "is just something I've been dealing with off and on for the last two weeks; has its good days and bad days."
Burnett's absence leaves closer Ernesto Frieri and sage lefty Scott Downs as the only experienced, reliable members remaining in the Angels' bullpen. Dipoto said the new guys, particularly De La Rosa and Roth, have done "Yeoman's work" filling in. But given their experience and track record, they can only do so much.
"As much as the individual contributions can be good, it's difficult," said Dipoto, whose team doesn't have another off-day until May 6. "You're trying to navigate through winning games, and generally speaking, you'd like to give guys a chance to cut their teeth and they're getting thrown in the fire."
Trout gets taste of Big A's metal left-field wall
ANAHEIM -- Part of what appealed to the Angels about moving Mike Trout to left field -- in addition to the presence of defensively gifted center fielder Peter Bourjos -- was that playing a less strenuous position could help the superstar stay healthy.
Angel Stadium's construction may provide an obstacle for that, though.
The wall making up the vast majority of left field, just in front of the stacked bullpens, is basically a chain-link fence, with little padding above or below and nothing standing between steel and flesh in the middle. On Monday night, Trout experienced the brunt of that, crashing into the fence while misplaying a Mitch Moreland fly ball.
"It's like cast-iron steel, pretty much," Bourjos said. "I don't know why we don't have some padding. It's pretty ridiculous. Somebody's going to get hurt on that."
Trout grabbed his back after the play and had several scratches after the Rangers' 7-6 win, but he was only a little sore postgame and just fine the next day. It could've been worse, however.
"It didn't hurt too bad because I wasn't running full speed," he said, "but if you hit that thing full speed, you're going to definitely feel it."
The lack of padding may affect Trout more than any other left fielder in baseball, because of his reckless abandon tracking fly balls and his ability to make plays up against the wall, coming off a year in which he took away four home runs.
But the left-field fence has been that way since Angel Stadium was remodeled heading into the 1998 season.
"It's not going to change my approach catching a fly ball," he said. "But the effects after might be a little different."
• Aybar will travel with the team to Seattle, but won't be back until he plays a little bit in extended spring training. Aybar was hoping to be activated off the disabled list as early as Thursday, the first day he's eligible, but Scioscia wants him to get in some games to make sure his bruised left heel is healthy enough to handle shortstop.
• Third baseman Alberto Callaspo (right calf strain) is "still not quite where you'd want him to be," Scioscia said Tuesday, but added that "there's a probability he'll be ready over the weekend." Callaspo is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. Callaspo and Aybar both worked out prior to Tuesday's game.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.