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Angels' Mark Trumbo tries to regain early-season form

Slugger has been in a slump since June 15 and has a team-high 101 strikeouts this season, which he says is the tradeoff that comes with power hitters.

July 21, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Mark Trumbo leads the Angels in home runs (21) and is ranked third in RBIs (57), but the first baseman also leads his team in strikeouts (101).
Mark Trumbo leads the Angels in home runs (21) and is ranked third in RBIs… (David Banks / Getty Images )

Mark Trumbo was hitting .270 with a .344 on-base percentage, .506 slugging percentage, 15 home runs and 45 runs batted in June 14, looking very much like a slugger who would garner his second consecutive All-Star berth.

Then came a lengthy drought that assured that Trumbo, like all of his teammates not named Mike Trout, got four days off last week.

The first baseman hit .173 (18 for 104) with a .216 OBP, .375 slugging percentage, six home runs and 12 RBIs in 27 games from June 15 through Friday, a slump that dropped his average to .242.

Trumbo still led the Angels with 21 home runs and ranked third with 57 RBIs, but he struck out three times in four of his previous 13 games, increasing his team-leading total to 101.

"That's the tradeoff you get with a guy with a bigger swing," Trumbo said. "When things are going well, you get results, everyone loves you, and you go home happy.

"But your timing does get a little skewed. That's where the peaks and valleys come in. If you're going to hit a few more home runs, there are going to be stretches where it can get pretty ugly sometimes."

The key for Trumbo is to minimize the length of those cold spells and find a way to contribute when he's struggling to find his rhythm. In that 13-game span in which he had four three-strikeout games, Trumbo also hit four home runs.

"It's a constant battle," Trumbo said. "It's important to keep perspective, to remember you've played the game for a long time and you've had success."

A little luck doesn't hurt. With runners on second and third in the first inning Friday night, Trumbo rifled a shot down the line on which Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson made a spectacular backhand diving stop to rob Trumbo of a two-run hit.

"Sometimes you feel like you have to hit it over the fence to get a hit," Trumbo said. "That ball could have been a confidence-builder. You want the balls you hit hard to fall, but you need a few of those others to fall, too, because those can sometimes get you out of a slump."

Roster move

The Angels recalled infielder Tommy Field, a natural shortstop who can play second base and third base, from triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday to replace seldom-used infielder Brendan Harris, who was designated for assignment after starting only seven of the team's last 51 games.

"Brendan, from the offensive side, struggled in that role, not getting a lot of at-bats," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Tommy gives us a little more speed and versatility off the bench."

A's play without Yoenis Cespedes

Oakland left fielder Yoenis Cespedes (sore left wrist) was not in the lineup for the second straight game, but Manager Bob Melvin said the injury was not related to the slugger winning Monday night's home run derby in New York.

"You would think he'd have felt it then, and he didn't," Melvin said. "It came up in batting practice [Friday]. Before the game, he was taking swings in the cage and still felt it."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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