ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Although rookie Sean Rodriguez, like the rest of the Angels, struggled on offense during the team's six-game trip, he has played brilliantly in the field since his call-up from triple-A Salt Lake. Which is something of a pleasant surprise since second base isn't his favorite position.
It's more like fourth on the list.
"Whatever keeps me up here," Rodriguez said with a smile.
A standout outfielder as a high school player in Miami, Rodriguez switched to shortstop just before the 2003 amateur draft.
The Angels then tried him at six positions in the minors -- where he hit .276 in five seasons -- before moving him to second base full time this spring.
"He's becoming much more confident in his footwork around the bag, turning the double play. [And] he's got good range," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Rodriguez, who saved at least two runs with spectacular fielding plays in the final two games against Tampa Bay. "Defensively he's going to be an asset wherever he ends up making plays."
Rodriguez, who singled, scored and struck out twice in three at-bats Sunday to raise his average to .200 in eight games, has yet to make an error this season -- either with the Angels or in 21 minor league games. And he admits he's starting to get comfortable at his new position.
"Every position has its differences," said Rodriguez, who worked long hours with Angels coaches during the spring. "A little bit of different angles. But it's not much harder. Now it's starting to become more just a habit. That's what you want it to be.
"When I first started there, like in spring training, I was telling myself, 'OK, where I am going right now?' It took some games just to get used to it."
Here's how badly things have been going on offense for the Angels: In his first at-bat Sunday, Torii Hunter, with a lifetime slugging percentage over .500, tried to bunt for a hit.
He was thrown out, but that was the only time the Rays got him as Hunter, who started the game hitless in the series and batting .176 on the trip, finished with three hits, including a triple, and drove in two runs.
The slumping Vladimir Guerrero had two hits, including a double, and drove in a run, while Garret Anderson raised his average to .246 with two hits and his ninth and 10th RBIs of the trip.
The Angels' frustration was apparent in the dugout Sunday as the usually mild-mannered Scioscia came out three times to discuss calls with the umpires, sparing only third base umpire Fieldin Culbreth. And he appeared to have reason to be upset, as replays showed the umpires missed two of the plays, costing the Angels a run in one case.
"You have to be able to absorb a lot in a game to win," Scioscia said. "Probably the last four, five days we haven't played at a high enough level to absorb maybe a call that doesn't go your way or a bloop hit or a line drive you hit at someone."
Right-hander Dustin Moseley and infielder Maicer Izturis are scheduled to make rehab appearances for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight at San Bernardino.
Moseley, on the disabled list because of forearm tightness, will throw four innings or about 60 pitches, whichever comes first.
Izturis, out since April 28 because of a lower back strain, is expected to play five innings in the field.
Scioscia gave his wife Anne flowers for Mother's Day, but the manager said she probably got a bigger thrill from the gift son Matthew sent -- the ball from his first college hit, a three-run home run for Notre Dame 12 days ago.