6/26/2014 4:30 P.M. ET
Projections show Hamilton is All-Star worthy
By Matthew DeFranks / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton is leading Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Jose Bautista in hitting, but he doesn't have enough at-bats to qualify.
Hamilton, who missed 48 games with a thumb injury, has a .321 average this season, while driving in 18 runs in just 29 games. His average would rank sixth in the American League if Hamilton had more at-bats.
Hamilton is currently in 15th place among AL outfielders in All-Star votes with just a week left in balloting.
But what if Hamilton didn't miss those games?
Hamilton's numbers adjusted to a 162-game season are among the best in his career, a career that includes five All-Star Games and an AL Most Valuable Player Award. His .321 average would be his best average since he hit .359 during his 2010 AL MVP Award-winning season. His projected 98 RBIs would be the most in his two seasons in Los Angeles, and comparable to the 100 he had in '10.
Missing from Hamilton's game, however, is the long ball. He only has three home runs this season and none since June 3. The three homers would equal 17 per 162 games, which would be Hamilton's lowest output since 2009.
"Home runs are just a product of good swings and squaring it up," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think that Josh is taking good swings, and you're seeing him get a lot of big hits for us. He just hasn't hit the ball with the trajectory to get it out of the park in a while, but it'll be there. He's going to find that swing."
Fans can cast their votes for starters at MLB.com -- online or on a mobile device -- using the 2014 All-Star Game MLB.com Ballot Sponsored by Experian until Thursday, July 3, at 8:59 p.m. PT. The 2014 All-Star Game will be played at Target Field on Tuesday, July 15 on FOX.
Angels facing potential roster move to solidify bullpen
ANAHEIM -- With Tyler Skaggs' return to the rotation pushed back until at least next week, the Angels were forced to push Hector Santiago back into a starting role on Saturday against the Royals.
But with Santiago's return to the rotation, Los Angeles is back down to a six-man bullpen. He had been serving as the emergency lefty reliever the Angels no longer have.
The team may have to make a roster move in the sudden future to add more depth to the bullpen.
"I think at some point, we're going to have to, especially with Hector back in the rotation for this weekend, we'll have to make a move," manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't know if it's necessarily today. I think we'll monitor it on a daily basis to get back to a seven-man 'pen."
The Angels signed left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a Minor League contract on June 17, just two weeks after the Yankees claimed him off waivers, then designated him for assignment. LeBlanc pitched in one game for the Angels this season in long relief, pitching 6 1/3 innings on May 30.
Right-handers Jarrett Grube and Michael Kohn are also with Triple-A Salt Lake. Grube has pitched in one game for the Angels, while Kohn has appeared in 25, posting a 3.04 ERA.
"He's still smoothing things out," Scioscia said of Kohn. "Mike has got really good stuff, and once he harnesses it, he's got the potential to be one of those guys that you're going to put in the back end to hold leads."
In the past week, the Angels have optioned relievers Dane De La Rosa (June 20) and Cam Bedrosian (June 21) to the Minors. Players must stay at least 10 days in the Minors before being recalled to the Majors.
Streaking Angels not yet a 'finished product'
ANAHEIM -- Thanks to a five-game winning streak, the Angels entered Thursday a season-high 10 games over .500 and trailed the American League West-leading Athletics by just four games.
With a win over Minnesota on Thursday afternoon, the Angels (43-33) would claim their first undefeated homestand of six or more games in more than 10 years. They last accomplished that feat in May 2004.
"I don't think we're the finished product yet, but I think we will continue to improve," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Where we are right now is something hopefully that sets the foundation where we can jump from and get into a higher level of playing."
During the five-game streak, the Angels scored 5.8 runs per game while hitting .259. The pitching, meanwhile, was solid, posting a 2.93 ERA and holding opponents to a .226 average.
The five-game winning streak was the second of the season for the Angels, with both coming in June, and they only lost four games in a row once this season. At this point last season, the Angels were 33-43 and had five losing streaks of at least four games. They only had one winning streak of at least the same length, an eight-game stretch in May.
"It's fun to see the improvement," Scioscia said. "It's fun to see the team doing things in the field that are leading to wins, but we know we have to continue to get better."
While they are 13-8 in June, the Angels have been beating up on the little guys. In games against teams currently over .500, Los Angeles is 3-4 this month, while they are 10-4 against sub-.500 clubs.
• David Freese was back in the lineup Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's game with a bruised elbow. Freese was hit by a Matt Guerrier pitch during Tuesday's 8-6 win.
• Grant Green was catching balls at first base before Thursday's game, picking balls in the dirt and stretching for errant throws.
The Angels want Green, a natural shortstop who played second in Oakland, to play a variety of positions for them, including third base, second base and left field in addition to first base.
Green started Wednesday's game at third base and filled in at first on Friday. He has never started at first base in his career.