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.
Kevin Jepsen, Erick Aybar and Ryan Madson are heading to Tempe, Arizona today to continue their rehab at extended spring training.
“Got a pretty good team there, sure,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
In each case, that’s a good sign for the Angels, but the timetable is different for each player’s recovery.
Albert Callaspo batted leadoff 12 times for the Angels in 2010, hitting .148 with a .179 on-base percentage. He returns to the top of the lineup Thursday. (Associated Press)
Mike Trout has one career start as the Angels’ number-two hitter.
Alberto Callaspo said he didn’t remember the last time he batted leadoff.
Yet that’s where they’ll be batting tonight against the Oakland A’s, and for the immediate future.
It was the first thing Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked about in his pregame media scrum. The first thing he said in response: “I think it’s just really a common sense move.”
Sean Burnett was not dealing with a blister, in his mind or on the middle finger of his left hand.
Mike Scioscia seemed to disagree when he left right-hander Kevin Jepsen in to face A’s lefties John Jaso and Brandon Moss in the seventh inning with the southpaw Burnett available out of the bullpen. “Jeppy was the guy to get out of that inning,” Scioscia said, before mentioning Burnett’s blister.
Burnett said that there was no blister. Ever.
“It was more my nail came out of the bed” three days ago in Texas, he said. “It was a one-day thing. It happens all the time with my breaking ball … I was 100 percent.”
Burnett pitched Tuesday. He seemed healthy. He faced four batters in a scoreless eighth inning. Scioscia simply chose to save Burnett for the start of the eighth inning rather than the two-on, two-out situation in the seventh, citing the blister. It proved to be the wrong call.
Whether you attribute the Angels’ 9-5 loss to the Oakland A’s on Tuesday to Scioscia leaving in Jepsen too long, or to Jepsen for allowing two homers in the seventh inning, may be a matter of degrees. Six of one, half a dozen of another, there are still issues in the Angels bullpen. Right?