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Angels' Albert Pujols, Mickey Hatcher stay mum on clash

The slugger takes issue with the hitting coach's sharing of what Pujols said in a closed-door players' meeting, but neither wants to discuss it in the media.

May 01, 2012|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels first baseman Albert Pujols wouldn't talk Tuesday about any issues he might have with hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols wouldn't talk Tuesday about any… (Amy Sancetta / Associated…)

Whatever was said between first baseman Albert Pujols and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher in the wake of friction that arose between them Monday night remained private Tuesday.

Pujols, who in April hit .217 with no homers and four runs batted in, the worst month of his career, was perturbed at Hatcher for telling reporters what he said during a closed-door hitters meeting Monday, even though Pujols' comments, meant to instill confidence in his teammates, were fairly innocuous.

"Mickey shouldn't have said that," Pujols said after the game. "No disrespect, but I'll talk to Mickey about that."

Asked Tuesday whether he spoke to Hatcher, Pujols said, "Come on, man. All that stuff is personal. We don't discuss it in the media." Hatcher, under fire for the Angels' hitting woes during an 8-15 start, tried to defuse the situation.

"I don't want to talk about it, Albert doesn't want to talk about it," Hatcher said. "It was something you guys stirred up, and that's it. Everybody's laughing about it. It's ridiculous."

Asked whether he presided over a discussion between Pujols and Hatcher and whether there was a resolution to the matter, Manager Mike Scioscia said, "There's nothing to resolve. Albert is fine. Mickey is fine."

Riding the pine

Asked Saturday how the promotion of outfielder Mike Trout from triple-A would affect struggling center fielder Peter Bourjos, Scioscia said Bourjos "still has a huge role on this team. We want to get him on track. He'll get his playing time."

Recent lineups indicate otherwise. Bourjos, batting .167 with a .231 on-base percentage, did not start Tuesday, the third straight game and fourth of five he was not in the lineup.

"I've been an every-day player my whole career — it's going to be a challenge," Bourjos said of his adjustment to a reduced role. "Last year I had to prove I could play every day and hit at this level. This is another challenge, where I have to prove I can succeed in this role."

Bourjos looked overmatched in his first two months in the big leagues, batting .204 after being called up on Aug. 3, 2010. He made significant strides last season, hitting .271 with 12 homers, 26 doubles and 11 triples, though his 124 strikeouts were too many for a player who relies more on speed than power.

At 25, Bourjos is still a developing player, but Scioscia said the Angels have given "no thought" to sending him to triple-A to play every day and find his stroke.

"He makes us deeper, stronger," Scioscia said. "He's going to play."

Status quo

As bad as the bullpen is, the Angels are not at a point where they'd promote top pitching prospect Garrett Richards from triple-A and move Jerome Williams to the bullpen or convert Richards to reliever.

"A lot of things are being talked about, but when you make a move, you have to be careful you're not opening a bigger hole somewhere else," Scioscia said. "I'm not sure we have enough starting pitching depth to do that now."

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