Mike Scioscia dropped struggling right fielder Josh Hamilton from the cleanup spot to fifth in the batting order for Monday night’s game against the Texas Rangers, but the Angels manager said the move is not permanent.
Until Hamilton, batting .176 with 23 strikeouts in 68 at-bats before Monday, snaps out of his funk, first baseman Mark Trumbo will bat cleanup against left-handed starters.
Texas was scheduled to start lefty Derek Holland on Monday. Hamilton is expected to return to the fourth spot against right-handers Alexi Ogando and Yu Darvish Tuesday and Wednesday night. Hamilton is batting .053 (1 for 19) vs. left-handers this season and .224 (11 for 49) vs. right-handers.
“We’re going to mix and match right now until Josh feels comfortable,” Scioscia said, adding that he is not ready to give Hamilton a day off to clear his head.
“Right now, Josh wants to work through things, and the only way to find your stroke is to be out there seeing the ball and hitting the ball,” Scioscia said. “I don’t think we’re at a dead end with Josh. Right now, he feels good physically, and his at-bats have improved. He’s just not where he needs to be.”
Hamilton, who left Texas to sign a five-year, $125-million deal with the Angels in December, had no problem with the demotion.
“This happened three different times with the Rangers,” Hamilton said. “Trum’s hot, and you want to give the hot guy more chances with guys in scoring position. I’m OK with it. I’ll be happy to not get a hit ever again as long as we keep winning.”
The Angels made another roster move before the game, placing right-hander Tommy Hanson, who was scheduled to start Wednesday night, on the bereavement list and recalling reliever David Carpenter from triple-A Salt Lake.
Scioscia said he was leaning toward starting long reliever Jerome Williams, who threw three scoreless innings and 36 pitches to gain the win in Sunday’s 4-3, 13-inning victory over Detroit, Wednesday night. Players spend a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven days on the bereavement list.