04/30/2013 10:31 PM ET
Hamilton suffering from impatience at the plate
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
OAKLAND -- Asked about Josh Hamilton's struggles at the plate, Angels hitting coach Jim Eppard sees what so many others see: "He's swinging at pitches that he can't hit."
There's no real science to it. Hamilton has simply been very impatient in his first month with the Angels, even by his standards.
Heading into Tuesday's game against the A's, which saw him get dropped to fifth against a right-handed starter for the first time this season, Hamilton had swung at 45.2 percent of pitches out of the strike zone, which ranks third in the Majors behind only Pablo Sandoval (Giants, 48.5 percent) and Yuniesky Betancourt (Brewers, 45.7 percent). He continues to chase the breaking ball on the outside corner, and because of that has seen the second-lowest percentage of fastballs in baseball (44.3 percent).
In Monday night's 10-8, 19-inning loss to the A's, Hamilton went 0-for-8 with three strikeouts, dropping his slash line to .202/.246/.298 (AVG/OBP/SLG) with one day left in April. His 32 strikeouts entering Tuesday were tied for eighth in the Majors.
"I just know there's a lot more in him," Eppard said. "At any time, he can get hot and be the guy that we're looking for. He's just not there yet."
Aybar returns as Angels deal with Monday's fallout
OAKLAND -- Devastating as the Angels' 19-inning, 10-8 loss to the A's on Monday night might have been, it was historic -- at six hours and 32 minutes, it was the longest game in both teams' histories -- and included several impressive performances.
Tommy Hanson pitched six innings of two-run ball, giving the rotation back-to-back-to-back quality starts; Chris Iannetta squatted for 19 innings behind the plate; Albert Pujols had four hits, went deep twice to snap a 19-game homerless drought and played the field all night; Jerome Williams hurled six innings of one-run ball in relief; and Mark Trumbo hit a 475-foot homer that tied for the longest in the Majors this season.
But the Angels were in little mood to reminisce on Tuesday.
"I don't take much nostalgia away from that game," Trumbo said. "It's all about winning, and we didn't get it done. End of story."
The fact is the Angels are now 9-16 -- tied for the worst 25-game start in franchise history -- and must maneuver through yet another injury.
As expected, outfielder Peter Bourjos was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday because of the strained left hamstring he suffered while trying to beat out a sacrifice bunt in the 11th inning. In his place, shortstop Erick Aybar returned to the roster -- batting leadoff -- after being on the DL since April 9 with a bruised left heel, while J.B. Shuck started in left field and Mike Trout moved to center.
The Angels also purchased the contract of outfielder Scott Cousins from Triple-A Salt Lake, filling up their 40-man roster once again, and optioned rookie left-hander Michael Roth to Double-A. That means they're back to a traditional seven-man bullpen and four-man bench, despite having seven relievers account for 12 2/3 innings the night before.
"Really, we're as banged up on the lineup side," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who was up until about 3 a.m. PT pondering potential roster moves with the front office.
The Angels have already used the DL on seven occasions since the April 1 opener -- one more time than they used it through the first three months of 2012. They've used 18 pitchers in April, the most in one month since August 2000.
Innings-wise, Monday's game was the third-longest the Angels have ever played and the longest in American League history since July 9, 2006, when the White Sox beat the Red Sox, 6-5, in 19 innings.
But now it's time to play again.
"The game doesn't stop," Scioscia said. "You need to keep going."
Williams credits Taiwan workload for durability
OAKLAND -- As Jerome Williams was talking to reporters on Tuesday afternoon, a few hours after he pitched six innings of one-run ball out of the bullpen, Angels manager Mike Scioscia walked by and jokingly asked him if he would be available for that night's game.
"Hey, I've got two for you today," Williams said, without even blinking. "I'm dead serious, too."
Scioscia, of course, will stay away from Williams one night after he threw 74 pitches in a 19-inning game -- which came two days after throwing an inning of relief and five days after hurling three.
But the Angels' 31-year-old long reliever will tell you, and any coaches willing to listen, that his arm never tires. The reason? The 2010 season Williams spent in Taiwan, where his between-starts bullpen sessions required him to throw 200 pitches.
"I threw so much there, I'm used to throwing multiple days, or even taking some days off and throwing again," said Williams, who has a 2.35 ERA in 15 1/3 innings this season. "I'm used to that. Whenever they give me the ball, I'm going to throw, no matter what. No matter how long they want me to throw, no matter how short. I'm going to go out there and give 100 percent."
Williams said his arm "feels great" on Tuesday and even long-tossed from about 250 feet.
"Thank you, Taiwan," he said.
• Chris Iannetta caught all 18 2/3 innings of Monday's 10-8, walk-off loss to the A's. The last American League catchers to be behind the plate for more than 18 innings in a game were A.J. Pierzynski and Jason Varitek in 2006, in a game between the White Sox and Red Sox that ended with one out in the bottom of the 19th. On Tuesday, though, Iannetta felt fine, and would've started Tuesday if it were up to him. "You have a job to do, just like anything," Iannetta said.
• Mark Trumbo's second-inning homer on Monday traveled 475 feet, which according to ESPN is tied with Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo for the longest home run hit this season. Asked where it ranks for him distance-wise, excluding last year's State Farm Home Run Derby, Trumbo said it's among the top, but believes he's hit some further. "The conditions play a big part in how far it goes," Trumbo said. "I think I hit it pretty solid. I got it as good as I could have."
• Luis Jimenez's bruised left shin, suffered while beating out an infield single on Monday, was still a little sore on Tuesday, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia was hopeful that he could be available to play defense. Jimenez was hit in the shin by a throw while running down the first-base line in the fifth, then exited three innings later.
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.