OAKLAND — It's not as if Orlando Cabrera was brooding for the first four months of the season, when he contributed little offense while batting in the lower third of the order.
But since Angel Manager Mike Scioscia moved the shortstop into the second spot July 29, slotting Cabrera between Chone Figgins and Darin Erstad, there seems to be a little extra bounce to Cabrera's step, a little more energy in his game.
"Of course, when you're more involved in the lineup you feel more like you're part of the team," said Cabrera, who for months struggled to define his role with his new team. "I think that's what's happening now. I'm hitting in the first inning every day, and that gets you going. Hitting eighth, you'd get your first at-bat in the third inning, and sometimes you'd only get three at-bats a night."
The move has agreed with Cabrera and the Angels. Before Wednesday, Cabrera, in the first year of a four-year, $32-million contract, had hit .308 (12 for 39) in 10 games as the No. 2 hitter, raising his average from .247 to .254.
He scored 10 runs, drove in eight runs, drew six walks and stole three bases in those games and has added another situational presence -- a player who can bunt, hit-and-run and hit behind runners -- in front of Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson.
The Angels' 9-2 victory over the A's on Tuesday provided a nice canvas for Cabrera's game. After Figgins led off the game with a double, Cabrera, in an effort to advance Figgins with a grounder to the right side, wound up hitting a single to right field and scored one of the Angels' two runs in the inning. In the second, Cabrera dropped a successful suicide squeeze.
"That's the kind of player I am," Cabrera said. "I can hit the ball behind the runner, move a guy over. They're seeing my game better now."
Anderson, criticized at times for what some perceive as a lack of aggression on defense, made two superb plays Tuesday night, a long run and sliding catch of Bobby Kielty's seventh-inning popup and a running catch of Kielty's eighth-inning fly in front of Figgins, who was charging hard from the infield.
But Anderson paid a price, tweaking his sore left knee on the sliding catch and aggravating it again on his eighth-inning catch, and he was not in the lineup Wednesday night.
The tendinitis in Anderson's knee has relegated him to designated hitter or sidelined him periodically the last two seasons, but Anderson does not anticipate needing off-season surgery.
"I never heard any pop or anything -- it's tendinitis, and I just have to deal with it," said Anderson, who is expected to play today. "Some days are better than others. There's no rhyme or reason to it."
Scioscia said Jarrod Washburn, sidelined since July 25 because of inflammation in his left forearm, would come off the disabled list and start against Seattle on Friday night....Oakland center fielder Mark Kotsay (back spasms) and designated hitter Scott Hatteberg (rib-cage injury) have sat out the first two games of the Angel series.