7/18/2014 8:12 P.M. ET
Break was welcome respite for weary Halos
By Matthew DeFranks / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- It may not have seemed like the Angels needed the All-Star break but manager Mike Scioscia disagreed.
"It's a good thing," Scioscia said. "Our guys needed the break, for sure."
The Angels entered the break as one of the hottest teams in baseball, winning five straight, 10 of 11 and 19 of 23 games going into the four-day recess. The Angels lead the Majors with a 26-9 record since June 6. Los Angeles swept Texas in a four-game series to cap the first half.
"Our guys were really fatigued after that series," Scioscia said. "It's good for them to catch their breath. For us to pick it back up, we have to get in tune with the things that got us playing well and getting wins."
The Angels tied the franchise record with 57 wins before the break while they were 20 games over .500 at the halfway point for the first time in club history. They led the Majors in runs while their starters ranked third in the American League in ERA.
While four-day breaks are very rare, Scioscia said he's not concerned about his team getting back in the swing of things.
"This game doesn't take much to get you back where you need to be," Scioscia said.
The Angels went 34-35 after the break last season and 41-35 in 2012.
Halos sign 35 of 40 Draft selections
ANAHEIM -- With the signing of Hartford left-hander Sean Newcomb, the Angels wrapped up their 2014 Draft. The Angels signed 35 of their 40 selections.
Newcomb signed before Friday's deadline for $2,518,400.
The Angels selected -- and signed -- five pitchers in the first five rounds, including New Jersey high schooler Joe Gatto (second round) and Ole Miss right-hander Chris Ellis (third round).
For the second straight draft, the Angels selected 22 pitchers. This year, all but one hurler signed with the Halos as Memphis left-hander Caleb Wallingford (35th round) elected to return to school.
Catchers John Bormann (19th round) and Kholeton Sanchez (32nd round), and first baseman Kyle Martin (20th round) all chose to return to college.
Midland College second baseman Blaine Prescott (16th round) also did not sign.
Angels reach deal with top pick Newcomb
ANAHEIM -- The Angels agreed to terms Friday with first-round Draft pick Sean Newcomb, just hours before the deadline to do so.
Newcomb, the 15th overall selection, signed for $2,518,400, more than the recommended $2,475,600 for his slot. The bonus was first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
"We're elated that we were able to select him, get him signed and very excited about getting him in uniform," scouting director Ric Wilson said.
Newcomb, who was a junior at the University of Hartford, went 8-2 with a 1.25 ERA -- the seventh-best ERA in the NCAA -- in 14 starts as batters hit just .162 against him. He immediately becomes one of the top prospects in the Halos' farm system.
Wilson said Newcomb would probably start in rookie ball in Arizona but the Angels' top priority is to monitor his workload.
"It's important just to get him out and see what our system's like and hear from different guys in the organization," Wilson said.
General manager Jerry Dipoto has said that Newcomb would only throw about 30 innings the remainder of this season, regardless of when he signed. He threw 93 1/3 innings during his college season.
Newcomb, a 6-foot-5, 240-pounder originally from Middleboro, Mass., has a mid-90s fastball to go along with a curveball, slider and changeup.
One of three unsigned first-rounders entering Friday, Newcomb signed for less money than the Giants' Tyler Beede above him ($2,613,200) and Diamondbacks selection Touki Toussaint below him ($2,700,000).
Newcomb's bonus represented all the money the Angels had remaining in their Draft allotment, and the club avoided any tax or loss of future picks. The Halos had as much as $2,807,100 to spend on Newcomb without losing a first-round pick, though a 75 percent tax would have applied.
Newcomb was Los Angeles' first first-round selection since 2011, when first baseman C.J. Cron was selected with the No. 17 overall pick. The Angels lost their first-round picks in 2012 and '13 when they signed Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton in respective offseasons.
Trout ready to take baton from Jeter
ANAHEIM -- Escaping comparisons to Derek Jeter was one of the few things Mike Trout wasn't able to do during the All-Star break.
Trout shared the spotlight with Jeter during the Yankees shortstop's final All-Star Game before stealing the show with a 2-for-3, two-RBI performance that earned him the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player award.
Along with the MVP award, Trout may have exited with another title as well -- the face of baseball.
"The way [Jeter] plays the game, the way he handles himself on and off the field, that's how I want to play my game," Trout said. "Every day, I try to go out there and have fun, play baseball and respect the game, just the way he does. When he's gone, there's gotta be somebody to do it. I'm going to try my best to keep playing my game.
"If people say the torch is passed, doesn't change my game. I keep respecting the game, playing the game hard."
The face of baseball isn't an official title, but that doesn't mean it doesn't carry some responsibilities. Everything Trout -- widely considered the best player in baseball -- says or does would be magnified, which doesn't worry manager Mike Scioscia.
"I think he has perspective," Scioscia said. "I think he's going to go out there and play baseball and let other people slot him where they will or call him the face of the game or critique him if they don't think he's playing at a certain level. I don't think that fazes Mike."
Trout grew up in New Jersey watching Jeter, who will retire after this season, and is the first baseball player since Jeter to have his own Nike shoe.
"It's pretty cool," Trout said. "Me growing up following him, me being a part of the same All-Star Game with him, winning the MVP, hitting second, just everything involving him, just very blessed and happy to be a part of it."
• Left-hander C.J. Wilson's injured ankle is making progress, according to Scioscia. Wilson went on the disabled list July 10 with a sprained right ankle.
Scioscia said Wilson was still a little sore but was throwing, although not off a mound.
• Outfielder Collin Cowgill, out with a broken nose and a fractured right thumb, had successful surgery, Scioscia said.
Cowgill is currently in Kentucky, but should rejoin the team in Anaheim by Monday, Scioscia said.