Angels GM Jerry Dipoto readily admits they were probably his top two concerns “leaving the dock out of spring training.” The Angels had no consistent leadoff presence and their bullpen was too thin to back an outstanding starting rotation.
Now, however, those two areas have essentially been dealt with — with the promotion of rookie outfielder Mike Trout in late April and the trade for right-handed reliever Ernesto Frieri in early May.
“I never think in terms of, ‘Boy, we solved that one. That’s behind us,’ ” Dipoto said. “It’s always a work in progress.
“But right now, I’m very comfortable with where we are as a team, with our personnel, how we line up. The 25-roster players — Mike (Scioscia) has developed a feel for how they work in a lineup and managing a game. That’s really all you’re ever trying to do — find how a roster works.”
Trout has emerged as a rising star since his promotion, filling the Angels’ need for a leadoff hitter with a .341 batting average, .401 on-base percentage, 35 runs scored and 16 stolen bases.
“He’s been an incredible catalyst for us since he came up,” Scioscia said of the dynamic 20-year-old.
Frieri (still unscored upon in 18 appearances with the Angels) has gone a long way toward solving the Angels’ bullpen problems. Through the first 32 games of the season, the Angels bullpen had a combined 4.70 ERA. Since then, it is just 2.24.
NOTES, QUOTES Conger on roll since recall from Salt Lake –C Hank Conger has made three starts since his promotion from Class AAA Salt Lake 10 days ago and he has hits in each one. Conger is 3 for 10 since his promotion. If he gets a hit in his next game, that would match the longest hitting streak of his major league career set in Sept. 2011. –RHP Ervin Santana’s erratic performance this season is a cause for concern for the Angels. But his inconsistency even extends within games. Through his most recent start, Santana has an 8.24 ERA in odd-numbered innings and a 2.73 mark in even-numbered innings. –RHP Jered Weaver is scheduled to throw another bullpen session before Friday’s game at Angel Stadium. According to Angels manager Mike Scioscia that might “fold into” a simulated game if the Angels decide Weaver needs to throw to hitters. This could be the final step before Weaver rejoins the Angels’ rotation next week. He has been on the DL with a back strain since leaving his May 28 start in the first inning with back pain. –C Chris Iannetta’s minor league injury-rehabilitation assignment has been put on hold due to soreness in his throwing arm. Iannetta has been out since wrist surgery May 11 and experienced the pain in his right forearm after attacking his workouts too aggressively in hopes of speeding up the timetable for his return. –RHP Dan Haren will face one of his former teams, the Arizona Diamondbacks, for the first time Friday since a July 2010 trade sent him to the Angels. Haren has a 15-7 record and 3.45 ERA in interleague play. He has faced the Diamondbacks just once before. He got the win after throwing 2 2/3 innings in relief for the Cardinals on Sept. 18, 2004. BY THE NUMBERS: 188-142 — The Angels’ record in the month of June since Mike Scioscia became manager in 2000. They had a losing record in June just twice (2004 and 2006) in that time and have won eight of their first 12 in June this year. QUOTE TO NOTE: “Albert is a guy that has seen a lot in this game. But his eyes light up at some of the things Mike does.” — Angels manager Mike Scioscia on the relationship between 1B Albert Pujols and rookie OF Mike Trout.
ROSTER REPORT MEDICAL WATCH: –LHP Scott Downs (sore left side) didn’t pitch June 12-13. –C Bobby Wilson (concussion) went on the seven-day disabled list June 5. He began a rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire on June 13. –C Chris Iannetta (fractured right wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 9. He underwent surgery May 11. His rehab assignment with Class A Inland Empire had been put on hold as of June 14 due to soreness in his throwing arm. –RHP Jered Weaver (strained lower back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 29. He threw on the slope of the mound June 11, and he threw a bullpen session June 12. He is scheduled to throw another bullpen session June 15. He might rejoin the major league rotation during the week of June 17-23. –OF Vernon Wells (torn ulnar collateral ligament in right thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list May 21, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on June 12. He underwent surgery May 22, and he might be able to return in late July. –OF Ryan Langerhans (separated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 21. He will not need surgery. –OF Jeremy Moore (left hip surgery in March 2012) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on April 13. –RHP Michael Kohn (flexor strain in right arm) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to March 26, and he was transferred to the 60-day DL on May 21. He underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery April 12.