6/18/2014 1:04 A.M. ET
Trout picking his spots for stolen bases
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Angels center fielder Mike Trout did something he hadn't done all year on Monday.
He stole two bases in one game.
It's surprising, perhaps even a little perplexing, that a player with Trout's speed, who gets on base so frequently, hadn't already done that multiple times through the season's first 11 weeks. But those two steals gave Trout just nine on the year, five shy of last year's pace, 19 shy of where he was at this point in 2012 and tied for 33rd in the Majors.
Since that breakout rookie season, Trout has noticed a major difference in how closely pitchers watch him and how much quicker they are to the plate when he's on first base.
"Every chance I get to go, I'm going to go," Trout said. "But I'm not going to run into outs."
Trout, who pretty much has a green light on the basepaths, has at least been efficient. He's stolen 11 bases without getting caught, dating back to Sept. 7 of last year, and his stolen-base percentage since 2012 -- 88.3 percent -- ranks first in the Majors among those with at least 90 steals in that span.
"I'm not just going to run into an out," Trout said. "I have to choose my spots for sure."
The Angels, like every other team, measure the amount of time that elapses from the time a pitcher starts his delivery to the time a middle infielder puts on a tag, then weigh it with the speed of the baserunner.
And despite Trout's speed, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said those opportunities have seldom been favorable.
"I think we've been pretty good at the percentages," said Scioscia, who added that Albert Pujols' presence behind him has no bearing on Trout's stolen-base opportunities.
"With Mike, you want to open him up a little bit when he gets the opportunity. But I don't know if I can count on one hand the times he's been on first base and a pitcher has been over 1.2 seconds to the plate. That's what we're running into, so you really need to pick your spots."
Skaggs not able to throw simulated game yet
CLEVELAND -- It turns out Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs won't be activated when eligible on Saturday.
Skaggs, on the disabled list since June 10 because of a strained right hamstring, didn't throw his scheduled simulated game at Progressive Field on Tuesday. Instead, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, the 22-year-old will "probably throw a bullpen in the next couple days."
Scioscia said Skaggs didn't suffer a setback; the Angels are just "going on his pace."
"He's feeling good," Scioscia added, "but not quite enough to do what you need him to do in a sim game."
The Angels can afford to wait a little longer, with Hector Santiago (six shutout innings against the A's, followed by five scoreless against the Braves before a rough sixth inning) and Matt Shoemaker (3-0 with a 3.76 ERA in five starts heading into his Tuesday outing) throwing the ball well.
Skaggs plans to throw his bullpen session on Wednesday, then throw his sim game on Saturday and be activated shortly thereafter.
"I felt like I needed to throw just a little bit more," said Skaggs, who's 4-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 12 starts. "The hamstring's 100 percent. Just one of those things about getting your arm ready to go."
Halos re-sign LeBlanc to Minor League deal
CLEVELAND -- The Angels re-signed left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a Minor League contract on Tuesday, assigning him to Triple-A Salt Lake to bolster their starting-pitching depth.
LeBlanc gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings of relief in Oakland on May 30, was designated for assignment the following day, then was selected by the Yankees, who DFA'd him after one appearance.
LeBlanc, who is out of options, elected free agency after being outrighted off the Yankees' 40-man roster and ultimately chose to return to the organization he began the season with.
The 29-year-old posted a 4.51 ERA in 96 games (68 starts) with the Padres, Marlins and Astros from 2008-13. LeBlanc joins Joel Pineiro, Jarrett Grube, Justin Thomas, Anthony Lerew and Jose Alvarez (on the Minor League disabled list with a left elbow strain) as Triple-A starters.
NL play, string of righties keeps Cron on bench
CLEVELAND -- It's been six days since power-hitting prospect C.J. Cron was in the Angels' starting lineup, partly because of the Thursday off-day, partly because of the National League rules in Atlanta this past weekend, partly because of the string of four straight right-handed starters the Angels are currently facing at Progressive Field and partly because Raul Ibanez had a solid game in Monday's series opener.
But Cron, 24, is still developing as a professional hitter, and he needs consistent at-bats, either in the Major Leagues or in Triple-A.
"At some point we're going to have to revisit that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "but right now, we see some starts for C.J., certainly versus left-handers. We'll have to see how it comes into play."
The left-handed-hitting Ibanez -- with a single, two walks and a stolen base in Monday's 4-3 loss -- started in left field and batted eighth against Indians righty Josh Tomlin on Tuesday, with Josh Hamilton taking a half day as the designated hitter because he's experiencing some soreness.
Cron posted a .305/.329/.524 slash line in his first 26 games, but he has three hits and seven strikeouts in his last 20 at-bats and Scioscia prefers using Ibanez against righties, even though the 42-year-old is batting .150/.255/.256 so far.
"If a guy is going to help us in an appreciable capacity up here, he's going to be here," Scioscia said when asked of the possibility that Cron gets optioned to the Minors. "We've seen that from C.J. for the most part. Right now, with the games in National League parks, a lot of right-handers, trying to get some guys in their game, there hasn't been as many at-bats for him this week. But that could change."
• Hamilton served as the designated hitter for the second time this season on Tuesday, a precautionary measure because he's feeling some soreness as he acclimates to playing every day after missing two months recovering from thumb surgery.
• High school right-hander Joe Gatto, the Angels' second-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, signed his $1.2 million contract on Tuesday and has begun Arizona League mini camp. Gatto was given No. 27 -- the same one worn by fellow South New Jersey native Mike Trout.
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.