5/18/2013 9:41 P.M. ET
Hamilton out of lineup to 'recharge,' enters game late
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Angels slugger Josh Hamilton was initially in Saturday's lineup -- batting fifth and playing right field -- but was scratched less than two hours before the game against the White Sox. The team offered no immediate explanation for the change.
As it turns out, no explanation was needed.
"Just took a day," Hamilton said. "There always doesn't have to be a reason for things."
The Angels simply intended to give Hamilton a day off to "recharge," as manager Mike Scioscia put it.
Hamilton did not get the day completely off, however, as he was used as a defensive replacement in the seventh inning.
The right fielder also got two plate appearances in which he singled and was intentionally walked.
Conger and Wilson proving to be a good battery
ANAHEIM -- While Hank Conger is focused on establishing a connection with every pitcher on the Angels' pitching staff, he has developed a strong bond with left-hander C.J. Wilson.
That relationship is getting Conger into the lineup -- he has caught six of Wilson's last seven starts -- and helping Wilson, as well.
"There's a comfort level there that's starting to develop," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Friday's game, albeit a 3-0 loss to White Sox ace Chris Sale. "Hank didn't really catch him last year, but it started in the spring. They are working well together."
The relationship has been evident on the field as Wilson has recorded a quality start in each of the six games caught by Conger. The left-hander also has a 3.16 ERA in 37 innings with Conger behind the plate, compared to a 4.82 ERA in 18 2/3 innings with Chris Iannetta catching.
However, Conger believes the on-field numbers are simply a reflection of their off-field chemistry.
"I think the biggest thing is not just when he starts, or when he throws, but off the field when we are in the clubhouse of just talking -- even if it's just talking about regular life or his mindset," Conger said.
When Wilson and Conger do have discussions about baseball, Conger lets Wilson dictate them so that Wilson can attack the hitters the way he wants to and the way he best sees fit.
"He's a really smart guy, so for me my main focus, going into each start with him, is making sure that I find out what he wants to do with each hitter and go to his strengths," Conger said.
In his past three decisions, Wilson has been stuck with the loss, but Conger has seen good things from Wilson and believes the wins will start coming.
"I know he's had some tough luck now going up against Sale, but it's real encouraging to see him the past couple starts with the way he's been throwing," Conger said.
As the weather gets warmer, Trout heating up
ANAHEIM -- The month of May appears to have been exactly what Mike Trout needed.
The Angels have played 17 games in May and Trout had reached base in all of them. The Angels outfielder has hits in 13 of the 17 games and his six home runs are tied with Mitch Moreland for the most in baseball during the month.
"One of the big things with Mike, obviously as you get into the season, you get a little more comfortable, that's one thing," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But I think having Albert [Pujols] behind him has really helped. He's found a comfort zone hitting two, connected with Albert, and hopefully it'll continue."
Since moving into the second spot in the Angels order, Trout has collected 28 RBIs and hit .284.
Heading into Sunday's contest against the White Sox, the Angels have 12 games left in May. Trout, who hit .325 with five home runs in May last season, has raised his batting average from .261 to .285 so far this month.
While getting into the rhythm of a season may be part of the reason for Trout's recent surge, Scioscia believes expectations may have been weighing on Trout early in the season.
"I think it's more of Mike getting through the hype of what he did last year, getting comfortable in the season and understanding that he just needs to play baseball," Scioscia said. "Now that he feels comfortable, you're seeing him do the things he is capable of doing."
Although Trout will return to left field when Peter Bourjos is activated from the disabled list, the 21-year old outfielder has played center field -- where he is most comfortable -- since Bourjos was injured on April 29.
However, Scioscia does not believe the position switch has had anything to do with Trout's recent offensive outburst.
"If you take a center fielder and ask him to catch, there's some validity to that point," Scioscia said. "Take a center fielder and ask to pitch, there's some validity. But, ask a center fielder to play left field, I think that holds no water as to a guy's comfort level of what he might be able to do at the plate."
Brasier gets an education on 'Dairy Night'
ANAHEIM -- Angels reliever Ryan Brasier had a twist in his pregame routine on Friday night.
Prior to joining his fellow relievers in the bullpen, Brasier milked a cow as part of "Dairy Night" -- one of the odder pregame ceremonies to take place at Angel Stadium.
"Never milked a cow," Brasier said. "I don't even know if I've ever touched a cow. It really wasn't that bad, not as hard as I thought it'd be. It felt like the nipple on a baby bottle. I was a little nervous to begin with."
The 25-year old rookie was selected for the unique task because of his youth. Although Brasier had never experienced anything similar to milking a cow and was a bit unsure of how to do it, Brasier is a competitor and enjoyed winning the race against White Sox reliever Nate Jones.
"When I first got out there, it was more learning how to do it, but obviously you want to win," Brasier said.
• Jered Weaver came out of Friday's simulated game OK and is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Sunday.
• Sean Burnett will make a rehab appearance with Class A Inland Empire on Saturday night.
• The Angels and White Sox celebrated Armed Forces day on Saturday as both teams wore camouflage hats. The Angels also had camouflage numbers and lettering on their white home jerseys.
• A unique pregame ceremony took place before Saturday's game, with astronaut Buzz Aldrin raising an American flag previously flown at a North Kabul NATO base in Afghanistan.
• The Angels made another roster move on Saturday as they claimed infielder Chris Nelson off waivers from the Yankees. To make room for Nelson on the 40-man roster, Scott Cousins was designated for assignment.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.