4/4/2014 8:41 P.M. ET
Angels not worried about early struggles with RISP
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
HOUSTON -- The Angels are struggling to hit with runners in scoring position out of the gate, just like they did last year.
Maybe that means you shouldn't worry?
In 2013, the Angels had just 10 hits in their first 79 at-bats with runners in scoring position, good for a .127 batting average that ranked last in the Majors through the first nine games. By the end of the year, though, that number rose to .264, good for 10th in the Majors.
So, take what you will out of the Angels going 1-for-19 with runners in scoring position in a series-opening sweep to the Mariners.
"We talk about what parts of our team right now you need to apply patience to and what parts you need to adjust, and we need to be patient there," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It'll happen."
Hitters will tell you it's a lot more difficult to bat with runners in scoring position, because of the pressure of the situation and because the opposing pitcher is bearing down. But small sample sizes can be particularly deceiving in this circumstance. Many believe that over time, results with runners in scoring position -- similar to results in the postseason -- will reflect a player's general track record over long enough stretches.
"Not hitting with runners in scoring position is really a function of guys not really being comfortable at the box right now for the first 10, 15 at-bats," Scioscia said. "It's going to go hand-in-hand where you're not comfortable and you're not hitting that some of those situations will find you and you may not get hits in it. But I don't think it's a problem at all with the approach."
The Angels stressed situational hitting in Spring Training, with hitting coach Don Baylor calling out specific situations during batting practice. But acting that out in a regular season game, in front of sold-out crowds and with a Major League pitcher taking it to another level with guys on base, isn't really something can be practiced.
"You can talk about situations every day," right fielder Kole Calhoun said, "but when you get in that situation, I don't think there's anything that can simulate it.
"This is a potent lineup. We ain't clicking yet, but we will soon."
Baylor discharged from hospital, resting leg
HOUSTON -- Angels hitting coach Don Baylor was discharged from UCI Medical Center late Friday afternoon and will continue to recover from the comfort of his home in La Quinta, Calif.
Baylor fractured his right femur, an ailment that requires at least 12 weeks to fully recover from, while catching the ceremonial first pitch from Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day Monday. On Tuesday, he had a five-hour surgery that involved fixing the fracture with a metal plate and screws.
There's still no timeline for when Baylor can re-join the team, but he probably won't be able to travel for a while. Assistant hitting coach Dave Hansen has taken on Baylor's duties in the interim, with Minor League hitting coordinator Paul Sorrento joining the coaching staff to provide further assistance.
Via text, Angels vice president of communications Tim Mead said Friday that Baylor is "doing very well," is "in very good spirits" and "looking forward to working with the doctors and rehab folks in the days and weeks ahead."
McDonald's wife picks up World Series ring at Fenway
HOUSTON -- John McDonald was originally expected to wait until the Angels play the Red Sox to receive his World Series ring, until he thought otherwise.
"I got traded four times last year," the veteran utility infielder said, "and the Angels don't play the Red Sox until August. You just never know how things are going to turn out in a baseball season. So I can say I'll wait until August, but who knows?"
Instead, McDonald's wife, Maura, corralled the couple's two kids and made the 45-minute trip from their home to Fenway Park, sitting in a luxury suite and getting presented with the ring from general manager Ben Cherington.
"My wife's from Boston, so it's pretty cool for her," McDonald said. "She grew up a Sox fan. It's kind of engrained in the fabric of New England."
McDonald already had pictures of the ring on his phone prior to the series opener against the Astros from Minute Maid Park. One side had "Boston Strong" on it, the other had an engraving of the World Series trophy.
McDonald started last year's regular season with the Pirates, was sent to the Indians on June 10, went to the Phillies on June 27 and was acquired by the Red Sox for Minor League pitcher Nefi Ogando on Aug. 31. The 39-year-old slick-fielder appeared in all of six games with the Red Sox and didn't make it onto any of their playoff rosters.
He wasn't too disappointed about missing the ring ceremony.
"If I was a part of it, that means I didn't make the team and nobody else picked me up," McDonald said. "So it would've been a whole different team. I still want to be playing baseball."
• With an RBI single in the seventh inning of Friday's 11-1 win, Erick Aybar notched his 900th career hit. With that hit, Aybar joined third-base coach Gary DiSarcina (966) and the late Jim Fregosi (1,408) as the only shortstops in Angels history to reach that milestone with the organization.
• Sean Burnett (recovery from August elbow surgery) is slated to throw a simulated game in Arizona on Saturday. Dane De La Rosa (right forearm strain) will pitch in a rehab game for Double-A Arkansas that day, too. Brian Moran (left elbow inflammation) is getting re-evaluated in hopes of getting work off a mound.
• Asked if he'd juggle some bullpen roles with the middle relievers in the wake of struggles in the opening series, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said: "I think those guys right now are more matchup anyway. They know they're going to be used somewhere to bridge that gap to get to the back end of our bullpen. How that flows, I don't think needs to be adjusted right now. These guys have been out there for a couple of outings and that's it."
• Former infielder David Eckstein has agreed to play in the Hall of Fame Classic in Cooperstown, N.Y., on May 24. Eckstein will be the Angels' representative as one of 30 ex-players who will participate in the game, which helps celebrate the 75th anniversary for the Hall of Fame and Museum. The game will be played at Doubleday Field.
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.