Perhaps even more remarkable than Brad Fullmer's torrid start (.422, three home runs, 15 runs batted in) is that he has seven walks.
Fullmer will never challenge for the league lead in walks -- the Angel designated hitter has averaged 32 walks in five full big-league seasons, with a career high of 39 in 1998 -- but he's on pace for 67 walks this season, and a more discerning offensive approach has resulted in better production.
"I don't think I'll ever walk 100 times, but through most of my career I've expanded the strike zone, I haven't been patient, and I've gotten myself out a lot," Fullmer said. "Now, I'm trying to see more pitches per at-bat.
"I'm still aggressive, but there are times when you're swinging the bat well and [opposing pitchers] don't want to give in to you. In the past, I wasn't patient enough to wait for them to make a mistake. I'm trying to keep my selectivity at the plate where it is now."
The left-handed hitting Fullmer was a wreck last April, his first season with the Angels after being acquired from Toronto. A career .281 hitter in April, Fullmer hit .219 with no homers and five RBIs in his first month and nearly wore himself out in the batting cage.
But he has been so productive this month, with a .491 on-base percentage and a .533 mark (eight for 15) with runners in scoring position through Thursday, that Manager Mike Scioscia has started him twice against left-handers in the last week, a rarity for Fullmer in 2002.
"I've quieted my stance down, and that's enabled me to see the ball better," Fullmer said. "Plus, I'm not taking a million swings until I feel something right. I work on a couple of specific things instead of expending so much energy [in the cage] and becoming fatigued like last year. Now, I just tinker. I take extra swings some days and just watch video on others."
Reliever Giovanni Carrara is still stunned by his March 26 release from the Dodgers, but the right-hander didn't have much time to dwell on it. Days later, he was signed by the Mariners, and he has a 3.24 earned run average in six games.
"That was my family, and they took it away from me," said Carrara, who threw 176 innings in 2001 and 2002 in a variety of roles for the Dodgers, from short relief to long relief to starting. "I'm still a little bit upset. It seemed like I did everything they asked for two years, and it didn't matter. It's a business, and I was the one who had to pay."