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Mark Trumbo gets Home Run Derby advice from ex-Angel Garret Anderson

Trumbo, who is expected to accept an invitation Monday to participate in the derby, says he sought out the winner of the 2003 competition, who told him to 'treat it like a normal batting practice.'

July 02, 2012|By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
  • Mark Trumbo hits his first of two three-run home runs in a game against the Colorado Rockies.
Mark Trumbo hits his first of two three-run home runs in a game against the… (Jack Dempsey / Associated…)

When Mark Trumbo's name started popping up in conversations about the Home Run Derby at this month's All-Star game, he sought out former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson for advice.

Anderson won the 2003 competition and, more significantly, avoided the huge dropoff in production that has plagued so many Derby champions, many of whom have altered their approach to swing for the fences.

"He said treat it like a normal batting practice. Don't shift your focus," Trumbo said. "For me, I like using the whole field. So he said don't just [hit] down the left-field line. The whole field's available to you and you can hit it out anywhere."

Trumbo, who was named to the American League All-Star team Sunday, is expected to formally accept an invitation Monday to participate in the Home Run Derby as well.

"I don't think it's going to be a big adjustment with my swing. If I stay with my approach, I'll be just fine," said Trumbo, who hit his 20th home run Sunday.

His first 19 traveled an average of 419 feet, the longest average distance in the majors.

"If you advance and you do well, you are going to take quite a few swings," he continued. "But it wouldn't be any different than probably a normal day's number of swings, anyway."

Democracy in action

Reliever Ernesto Frieri has been perfect since joining the Angels two months ago, making 24 appearances without giving up a run. And that was good enough to get him nominated for the final spot on the AL's 34-man All-Star roster.

Frieri is one of five candidates — Kansas City's Jonathan Broxton, Texas' Yu Darvish, Baltimore's Jason Hammel and the White Sox's Jake Peavy are the other four — for that last berth. The winner will be determined in an online vote, which will run through Thursday afternoon at MLB.com.

But Frieri was wasting no time getting out the vote Sunday.

"I'm going to make a lot of phone calls right now, and make sure that all my friends and other people from Colombia vote for me," Frieri joked after batting practice. "This is a great opportunity for me. I'm going to represent the Angels and want to represent my country too, and obviously my family. If I get the opportunity, it would be amazing. It would be unforgettable."

However, Frieri added, simply being in contention for the All-Star team is an honor.

"I'm happy, man," the 26-year-old right-hander said. "I've never thought about this. It's too early in my career. That means that what I'm doing, people like it, and that's amazing.

"I'm really happy right now because the fans have a chance to decide who's going to make it. And hopefully that's going to be me."

Difference of opinion

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia was ejected by umpire James Hoye after a sixth-inning play in which Toronto's Brett Lawrie was ruled safe after flattening catcher John Hester, then returning to touch the plate. Still photos appeared to support Scioscia's point of view.

"In 35 years I've never seen a catcher get bowled over at the plate, hold the ball and the runner be called safe," said Scioscia, who was still livid after the game. "It was clear that there was a glove on him somewhere. It was clear that he didn't tag the plate because he went back to tag the plate."

Some Angels — most notably pitcher C.J. Wilson and pitching coach Mike Butcher — also were upset Lawrie dived into Hester with his elbows out, nailing the catcher in the face.

Williams injured in rehab start

Jerome Williams, on the disabled list after experiencing breathing problems caused by an asthma attack in a game against the San Francisco Giants on June 18, was knocked out of his rehabilitation start for triple-A Salt Lake Sunday night when he was hit in the right forearm by a line drive in the third inning.

Williams had given up six runs — five of them earned — and eight hits in two innings, striking out one and walking none, before leaving the game. He threw 43 pitches, 32 for strikes. The right-hander returned to the dugout later, but the extent of his injury was not known late Sunday night.

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.

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