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Shaky debut at third base leaves Angels' Mark Trumbo shaken

ANGELS FYI

Playing his first regular-season game at his new position, Trumbo committed two errors Friday in Angels' 5-0 win over Kansas City. 'I feel as bad as anybody. . . . It leaves a real sour taste,' he says.

April 07, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Mark Trumbo can't quite get his glove on a foul ball hit by Kansas City's Yuniesky Betancourt during a shaky start at third base in the Angels' opener Friday night.
Mark Trumbo can't quite get his glove on a foul ball hit by Kansas City's… (Mark Boster / Los Angeles…)

His two errors in his third-base debut Friday night were tough enough for Mark Trumbo to absorb, but a bigger concern for the Angels and the converted first baseman could be the mental scars left by the rocky performance.

"I'd be lying if I said otherwise," Trumbo said Saturday when asked if his confidence was shaken a bit. "It's not that I don't have confidence in myself, but I know how hard the pitchers work to get outs, and any time you don't pick them up, I feel as bad as anybody.

"I take a lot of pride in contributing on multiple levels, and when you're not able to do that, it leaves a real sour taste. But I have to use it as motivation to try to get better."

Trumbo singled during a five-run eighth, but it was hard for him to relish his contribution to a season-opening 5-0 win after committing a throwing error in the second and overrunning a foul popup that dropped near the on-deck circle in the seventh, miscues that forced Jered Weaver to throw 14 extra pitches.

"I don't think jitters played much of a part," said Trumbo, who had never played third in seven professional seasons. "The mistakes I made were purely physical. They weren't due to a lack of preparation or planning."

Both errors provided lessons for Trumbo, who did not play Saturday.

"I made a good play on the grounder and pulled my throw a bit — maybe I need to pick up the target a little better," said Trumbo, who led the team with 29 homers and 87 runs batted in last season but was pushed off first by Albert Pujols.

"The popup, I got used to the way the ball comes off the bat at first, but it's always going to come back toward me at third. So maybe I can't be as aggressive with my route. I need to ease my way in there."

Rise and shine

The beginning of the season usually brings a welcome respite from the 6 a.m. wake-up calls and day games of spring training, but not for the Angels.

Saturday's 6-3 loss to Kansas City was the start of a seven-game stretch in which the Angels will play six day games, including two in the Central time zone (Minnesota) and two in the Eastern zone (New York).

"It's tough, but at least we're still in spring training mode," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "This is the better time of the season to do it. We're used to getting up early."

Considering the forecast for Minnesota, where lows Monday through Thursday are forecast to range from 31 to 41 degrees, the Angels are glad two of their three games in Target Field are day games.

"I can take 50 degrees, but 30?" Hunter said. "Hopefully that's the low at midnight, and we don't go extra innings."

On the ball

The ball Pujols struck for his first hit as an Angel on Saturday took a circuitous route into the hands of the slugger. After Pujols doubled in the fourth, he was thrown out trying to score on Kendrys Morales' single to left.

Hunter flied out to center fielder Lorenzo Cain to end the inning, and Cain flipped the ball — the same one Pujols hit — into the stands on his way to the dugout.

But Tim Mead, Angels vice president of communications, contacted a security official who was able to retrieve the ball in exchange for a Pujols-signed ball and four tickets to a future game.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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