Postgame notes: A strange game caps a good series for the Angels.

The Angels’ 10-9 win over the Seattle Mariners was fun for a night. As I pointed out in my game story, they did something that no team had never done, beating Felix Hernandez after falling behind by seven runs.

Because it was such an anomaly it’s hard to extrapolate any long-term, big-picture ideas about what the win means for the Angels. Mike Scioscia tried.

“Hopefully it’ll inspire you the next time you’re down by two, three runs at any time in the game to just keep playing baseball. Hopefully that experience for some of the young guys out there — you just have to experience it, understand it.”
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Angels shift toward a leadoff platoon. Josh Hamilton seems to be the culprit.

Mike Trout has said he enjoys hitting leadoff. It’s what he has done for most of his baseball life and what he did Monday and Tuesday against the Seattle Mariners. But he was batting second again for the Angels on Thursday night.

Peter Bourjos, the leadoff hitter Wednesday, wasn’t batting first either.

Erick Aybar was the first man up Thursday after a 13-game absence from the top of the order, and manager Mike Scioscia said that the top of the order could be a rotating affair beyond tonight.
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Ryan Madson tries something different.

Ryan MadsonRyan Madson took a scheduled day off his throwing program Thursday. The right-hander will resume tomorrow from flat ground, but not from 120 feet as in the past.

Madson said he’ll throw from 90 feet, but don’t call it a setback. It’s more of a temporary adjustment.

“It’ll prevent any excess inflammation in that spot,” he said. “That’s a big difference from 90 to 120, for some reason. It (Madson’s right elbow) doesn’t like that.”

The 120-foot distance is something of a standard distance for pitchers coming back from injuries, the final hurdle to clear. Madson acknowledged that throwing from 120 feet would allow him to build more strength and stretch his arm out more than throwing from 90 feet.

But if the goal is to get him back pitching off a mound (60 feet, 6 inches away from home plate), the extra 30 feet are negligible and not worth the pain. Madson said he hasn’t been able to throw beyond 80 percent strength from 120 feet without incurring pain in his surgically repaired right elbow, and he has a better chance of making progress if he sticks to 90 feet.

“When you go to 120 feet, you have to throw it 90 miles per hour to get it downhill,” he said.

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Mike Trout at 250 games.

Through 250 games, Mike Trout is rewriting the Angels’ franchise record book.

Among all Angels through their first 250 games with the franchise, Trout is first in hits (297), first in extra-base hits (115), first in runs (200), first in slugging (.537), first in average (.307), first in on-base percentage (.380), tied for second in sacrifice flies (13), third in steals (68), third in home runs (47), fourth in walks (113), tied for fourth in doubles (54), tied for fifth in triples (14), and tied for fifth in RBI (143).

Thanks to Angels PR for those numbers.

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The pressure seems to be getting to Josh Hamilton. The boos do not.

Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton will bat seventh Wednesday for the first time since 2009. (AP photo)

One day after going 0 for 5 with three double-play groundouts and two strikeouts, Josh Hamilton was penciled into the seventh slot of the batting order for the first time since 2009.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia indicated that Hamilton will stay there for as long as the slump continues. Sixty-nine games into his five-year, $133 million contract with the Angels, Hamilton is batting .213 with 73 strikeouts.

“It’ll be good for him to get out of the middle of the lineup, protecting Mike (Trout), protecting Albert (Pujols),” Scioscia said.

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Brendan Harris’ 0-for-27 streak ends, and it’s really not a big deal.

Brendan HarrisBrendan Harris went five weeks without a hit before Monday. You’re forgiven for missing it.

For the Angels’ utility infielder, it was nothing too alarming, nothing worthy of time at Triple-A to rediscover his stroke — he’s out of options, anyway.

Over those five weeks, Harris played all of 12 games and went 0 for 27.
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Mike Trout on All-Star Game: ‘If you deserve to be there, you should be there.’

Mike Trout

Mike Trout (right) was chosen an American League All-Star in 2012 despite not making his debut until April 28.

In hindsight, it would seem unjust if Mike Trout wasn’t an All-Star in 2012. In case you forgot: Second in the MVP voting, American League Rookie of the Year, 30 home runs, 49 steals, 129 runs scored, .326/.399/.564 slash line, 10.9 bWAR, yada, yada, yada …

Yet when All-Star game voting opened a year ago, on April 20, 2012, Mike Trout was in Triple-A. His first game of the season was eight days away. Ten days into the balloting, on May 1, Trout was batting .091. By June 1, he had five home runs and the pacesetter, Oakland A’s outfielder Josh Reddick, had 14.

So you wonder if Bruce Bochy would have wanted Trout, if by some strange reason the San Francisco Giants manager was in charge of the American League squad. Bochy explained his theory in a radio interview earlier today when asked about Yasiel Puig, the Dodgers outfielder who is putting up Trout-like numbers (better than that, even) through his first 13 major-league games.
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Josh Hamilton is back in the Angels’ linueup after a ‘needed’ day off.

Josh HamiltonAngels manager Mike Scioscia offered some clarification Monday for Josh Hamilton‘s somewhat unexpected day off Sunday against the New York Yankees.

Hamilton reportedly didn’t know he was sitting out the 6-5 loss, while Scioscia said it was previously scheduled.

“Josh knew we were going to try to stay away from him,” he said. “Trust me, he needed a day.”

Physically or mentally?

“Both.”

Hamilton, who is batting .213 this season, was passed over as a possible pinch hitter in the ninth inning Sunday in favor of Brad Hawpe and J.B. Shuck.

Monday, Hamilton was penciled into the second spot in the lineup against the Seattle Mariners.

Asked if Hamilton could continue to play through his physical issues this week, Scioscia said uninspiringly, “I hope so.”

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Mike Trout has several career milestones within reach.

Mike Trout has a few career milestones within reach over the final seven games of the Angels’ homestand. Thanks to the Angels’ public relations staff for their tireless research:

• If he scores today, Trout will have 200 runs in his first 249 games, which will make him the fastest to 200 runs by any player in MLB since 1940 (Ted Williams, 225 games and Barney McCosky, 236 games).

• Of the seven who have been faster since 1916, five are in the Hall of Fame (Joe DiMaggio, Lloyd Waner, Kiki Cuyler, Ted Williams, Chuck Klein).

• If Trout homers today or tomorrow, he’d be the first player ever with 48 home runs and 50 stolen bases in his first 250 games, and the fourth player since 1935 with 14 triples and 48 homers in his first 250 (DiMaggio, Williams, Mays). If he hits three more homers in his next nine games, Trout will be the fastest player ever to reach 50 home runs and 50 stolen bases.

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Ryan Madson has a ‘good day’ throwing, but still not pain-free.

Ryan MadsonAngels pitcher Ryan Madson threw long toss from 120 feet Monday, which the rehabbing right-hander declared a “good day.”

Still, Madson said he experienced pain in his surgically repaired right elbow when he pushed himself to about 80 percent effort.

“I don’t know what it is,” he said, “whether it’s the PRP injection or the strain.”
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