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Angels' Kole Calhoun is small but mighty

The outfielder, who is listed as 5 feet 10, hits a solo home run, his sixth in 38 games, in the Angels' 4-3 loss to Texas on Sunday.

September 08, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

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The Angels media guide lists outfielder Kole Calhoun at 5 feet 10, though Manager Mike Scioscia has his doubts.

"What is he, 5 foot 3?" Scioscia joked after Sunday's 4-3 loss to the Texas Rangers in Angel Stadium. "If you put him on the rack for a couple weeks he might get to 5-9. I'm gonna say he's a solid 5-8."

Asked how tall he actually is, Calhoun said, "For real? I have no idea, unless we took a ruler to it. I write 5-10 for everything. I'm sticking to it."

BOX SCORE: Rangers 4, Angels 3

However tall — or short — he is, the left-handed-hitting Calhoun has a nice height-to-power ratio. His solo homer to right field in the second inning Sunday was his sixth in 38 games since his late-July recall from triple A, putting him on pace for 25 homers in 162 games.

Calhoun, after a long run, also made a spectacular diving catch of Elvis Andrus' fly to shallow right-center in the seventh, though Leonys Martin tagged and scored the tying run on the play. Alex Rios' ensuing run-scoring double to shallow left-center gave Texas a 4-3 lead.

Calhoun, who is hitting .271 with 20 runs batted in, also doubled to right to lead off the eighth but was stranded when Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers got Mark Trumbo to ground to second, struck out Hank Conger and got Grant Green to fly out.

"He's a strong little guy, no doubt about it," Scioscia said of Calhoun, 25. "He reminds me of Ron Cey from the left side."

Calhoun's power and overall play are positioning him for a more significant role in 2014. He could push Peter Bourjos for playing time or J.B. Shuck out of a bench spot. He could make it easier for the team to package Bourjos in a deal for a pitcher.

Calhoun also plays first base, which might ease the pain of trading slugger Trumbo if Trumbo is the player who would net the best pitcher. At the very least, Calhoun, like young pitcher Garrett Richards, is making a statement that he belongs.

"It's an opportunity, that's how I'm looking at it," Calhoun said. "A lot of stuff is going to change next year. For now, it's nice to get an extended look, but next spring, it's going to be another battle to win a job."

Does Calhoun consider himself a 25-homer threat?

"I'm not going to say I can't do it, but it's not like I'm up there trying to be a 25-homer guy," he said. "I want to help the team win, whether it's a long ball one day and a sacrifice bunt the next."

Short hops

The Angels will open the 2014 season at home against Seattle on March 31, and the bulk of their interleague schedule will be against the National League East. In addition to four games against the Dodgers, the Angels will travel to Philadelphia, Washington and Atlanta and host the Phillies and New York Mets. … Angels starter Jason Vargas gave up two runs and six hits and struck out eight in six innings Sunday, but relievers Buddy Boshers and Michael Kohn each gave up runs in the seventh. … Andrew Romine's two-out, two-run double in the fourth gave the Angels a 3-1 lead. … The Rangers have been successful on 28 of 29 stolen-base attempts against the Angels this season.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

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