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ANGELS FYI

Angels' Josh Hamilton says he's never struggled like this before

Hamilton, who is batting .216, is in his first season with the Angels on a five-year, $125-million contract. He says he isn't worried about his lack of input, based on his contributions in the past.

June 02, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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Josh Hamilton is batting .216 overall, .146 with runners in scoring position. He has driven in 18 runs, the same as Alberto Callaspo and Chris Iannetta. He is on pace to strike out 173 times, a career high.

This is not what Hamilton or the Angels had in mind for the debut season of a five-year, $125-million contract. In the first week of the season, the Texas Rangers walked Albert Pujols intentionally several times to get to Hamilton. On Sunday, with the tying run on base in the eighth inning, the Astros pitched carefully to Mark Trumbo with Hamilton on deck and first base open, walking Trumbo on five pitches.

Hamilton flied out, on the first pitch.

Hamilton is unfailingly accessible to reporters. This is an excerpt of his meeting with the media after Sunday's 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros:

Q: Have you ever struggled this long?

A: Never. Ever. From the time I picked up a ball until now, no.

Q: Are you worried about it?

A: No, because the proof is what's gone on in the past. I've struggled at times, and I've always come out of it.

Q: So are you confident you will get out of it this time?

A: I can't predict the freaking future. Do you want me to go say I suck and sit in my locker?

Q: Do you think your struggles in the second half last year and so far this year might be connected, or are they totally separate issues?

A: Your guess is as good as mine. I hit 43 home runs and had 130 RBI [128, actually] last year. I don't know.

Torii's spirit

Torii Hunter, who vacated right field for Hamilton, left a little bit of his heart in Anaheim.

The Angels will host more than 1,300 at-risk youth from 34 Orange County schools for Monday's game against the Astros.

The Angels have donated the game tickets. Hunter, who signed as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers, has made a donation to provide meals for the students.

Short hops

Pujols has gone 59 at-bats without a home run. He is batting .248 with eight home runs this season; he was batting .243 with eight home runs on the same date last season. … Pujols has grounded into 11 double plays, the most in the American League. Howie Kendrick is among several players tied for second with 10. … Reliever Garrett Richards left Sunday's game with a mildly strained left ankle. He suffered the injury while fielding a squeeze bunt in the ninth inning; the Angels listed him as day-to-day. … The Angels have used five leadoff hitters this season, and they have a winning record only when J.B. Shuck bats first. The Angels' record, by leadoff hitter: Erick Aybar (14-14), Peter Bourjos (6-9), Callaspo (1-2), Mike Trout (2-6) and Shuck (2-1). … Chad Cordero, trying to return to the major leagues for the first time since 2010, got his first triple-A save Saturday. Cordero, 31, has a 4.26 earned-run average in 18 appearances at Salt Lake, with three walks and 17 strikeouts in 19 innings.

bill.shaikin@latimes.com

twitter.com/BillShaikin

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