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Angels' Mark Trumbo is sticking with what works

The rookie first baseman, who has gotten more playing time while Kendrys Morales recovered from a broken ankle, doesn't plan to change anything now that Morales is out for the season.

May 13, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo delivers a single in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Angel Stadium on Mother's Day.
Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo delivers a single in the eighth inning… (Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire )

Reporting from Arlington, Texas

The slow pace of Kendrys Morales' rehabilitation from a broken ankle this spring allowed rookie Mark Trumbo to win some unexpected playing time at first base.

But now that Morales is officially done for the season, Trumbo doesn't plan to change anything.

"I'm not going to approach it any differently," he said. "All along I never knew quite where he was at, but it never seemed that he was knocking on the doorstep. It's nice that I'll get a few more chances, but I'm going to do exactly the same thing I have been doing."

That should be more than enough given that Trumbo is tied for the team lead in home runs (six), ranks second in runs batted in (17) and has turned in some spectacular plays in the field. Plus his homers have come off some of the best pitchers in the American League — Boston's John Lackey and Jon Lester; the White Sox's Mark Buehrle; Cleveland's Fausto Carmona; Tampa Bay's David Price; and Texas' Colby Lewis.

Those six have combined for three World Series titles, eight All-Star games and 443 career wins — or more than three times as many wins as Trumbo has big-league at-bats.

"Once you start competing and you get into your mind-set that you've got a job to do, you don't care who's out there," said Trumbo, who used to pay to see Lackey pitch at Angel Stadium when he was a student at nearby Villa Park High.

Relief break

It's been a bad week for the Angels bullpen, which gave up 15 hits and 11 earned runs in 101/3 innings in the final four games of the homestand. But Manager Mike Scioscia said Friday afternoon he is confident those struggles will prove short-lived — and a few hours later his relievers proved him right with Kevin Jepsen and Trevor Bell each pitching a perfect inning in a 4-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.

"We have some arms that are starting to elevate themselves," he said. "So that will take a lot of pressure off. But as far as reworking the bullpen, I see us as creating some positive depth there as opposed to reworking it. We know where our back-end arms are and we're going to need them.

"The bullpen, for the most part, they're settling."

Small ball

For the second time in as many games Torii Hunter, the team leader in runs batted in, bunted into an out in the final inning of a game the Angels trailed. But Scioscia said he had no problems with that Friday, when Hunter popped a bunt toward third, where Adrian Beltre made a nice throw to get him at first.

"If he gets that ball where he wants to, he's going to walk to first base," Scioscia said. "We're three runs down; we're trying to get something started. That's something that Torii's done periodically during the season to get something going."

Hunter, the Angels' cleanup hitter, is batting .286 with six RBIs in May but hasn't had an extra-base hit in 10 games and hasn't homered since April 21.

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