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Angels offense struggling; Josh Hamilton nearing return

March 08, 2014|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton, taking batting practice before exhibition play, is scheduled to hit again Sunday as he works his way back from a strained left calf.
Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton, taking batting practice before exhibition… (Rick Scuteri / Associated…)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Temperatures are rising in the Phoenix area, but the Angels offense has cooled considerably since the team banged out 15 hits in a 15-3 win over the Chicago Cubs in their Cactus League opener on Feb. 28.

In eight exhibition games since, the Angels, who face an Arizona split squad Saturday at Tempe Diablo Stadium, have combined for 25 runs and 69 hits.

Only three Angels regulars seem to be swinging the bat well: catcher Chris Iannetta, who is hitting .500 (four for eight), second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is hitting .462 (six for 13) and center fielder Mike Trout, who is batting .429 (six for 14).

Struggling to find their strokes are designated hitter Raul Ibanez (.231), right fielder Kole Calhoun (.222), shortstop Erick Aybar (.182), catcher Hank Conger (.091), third baseman David Freese (.091) and first baseman Albert Pujols, who has one hit in 13 at-bats for an .077 average.

“We opened up like gangbusters in that first game,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “I think some guys are getting comfortable in the box, and we’ve had better at-bats. I don’t anticipate these guys needing many more at-bats before they get into their games. We haven’t really driven the ball the way we can, but that will take a little bit of time.”

Left fielder Josh Hamilton, sidelined for the past week and a half because of a left calf strain, is scheduled to take batting practice on the field Sunday, and Scioscia said Hamilton should be ready to begin playing in games “within a week or so.”


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