Evolving Angels announce arrival to Rangers
Two months into the season, the Angels finally let the Texas Rangers know they are here.
While the Rangers got off to the best start in baseball, the Angels struggled through one of the most disappointing six-week stretches to start a season in franchise history. They finally came to life in late May. But the revival was built on wins against AL West also-rans Oakland and Seattle.
That turnaround gained credibility when the Angels took two out of three from the Rangers over the weekend, carving into a division lead that had once been as high as nine games. The Rangers left town just 4 1/2 games up on the Angels.
"You have to look at the big picture and we're playing much better baseball," Angels RHP Dan Haren said. "It was big (to win the series). We were winning games but we needed to beat them."
Before this weekend, the Rangers had started to take out ownership rights on the Angels. They had won six of the previous seven meetings and 10 of the previous 13, dominating the Angels in those games. In their first head-to-head meeting this season, the Rangers won two out of three in Texas, outscoring the Angels 25-13.
This time around, the Angels held them to two runs in each of the first two games and took advantage of sloppy Rangers defense in victories each night.
"We're still trying to evolve as a team and be what we can be," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, downplaying the importance of the head-to-head matchup with the Rangers. "I don't put much stock in how we set up against any one team. ... When you start talking about the potential of our team, we're not there yet. We're getting better. We're evolving. But we're still not there yet."
Hester gets first homer as Angel
--C John Hester hit a solo home run in the sixth inning of Sunday's loss to the Rangers. It was his first home run with the Angels and first big-league home run since Sept. 5, 2010, with the Diamondbacks. It was the first home run by an Angels catcher since Chris Iannetta hit one on April 30.
--RHP LaTroy Hawkins began a minor league injury-rehabilitation assignment with Class A Inland Empire on Sunday. Hawkins was scheduled to pitch an inning for the 66ers and then make at least one more appearance with them before the Angels would consider activating him from the DL. Hawkins has been out since May 6 with a fractured finger on his pitching hand.
--OF Mike Trout was named the American League Rookie of the Month for May. Trout hit .324 with six doubles, two triples, five homers, 16 RBI, 21 runs scored and eight stolen bases in 27 games last month. The Angels were 6-14 before his promotion on April 27 and have won 22 of 34 since then.
--C Chris Iannetta has been cleared to begin "more aggressive baseball activities," according to manager Mike Scioscia. That includes a throwing program, baserunning and defensive drills including blocking balls in the dirt. Iannetta had wrist surgery on May 11 after breaking a bone in his right wrist. Scioscia said, "I'd be surprised if he's not ready in a couple weeks."
--RHP Ernesto Frieri finally gave up his first hit as an Angel, a leadoff single to Rangers C Mike Napoli in the ninth inning Saturday. That ended a string of 13 1/3 hitless innings since joining the Angels (a major league record for a pitcher with a new team). Frieri has struck out 30 of the 57 batters he has faced in his first 14 1/3 innings with the Angels.
BY THE NUMBERS: 22-13 -- Angels record since April 28, best in the American League through Sunday (second in the majors behind the Marlins' 23-12).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm a human." -- Angels RHP Ernesto Frieri after finally giving up a hit (after 13 1/3 innings) as an Angel.
--C Chris Iannetta (fractured right wrist) went on the 15-day disabled list retroactive to May 9. He underwent surgery May 11, and he's expected to be out until late June or early July. He has been cleared to begin "more aggressive baseball activities," according to manager Mike Scioscia. That includes a throwing program, baserunning and defensive drills including blocking balls in the dirt. Scioscia said on June 3, "I'd be surprised if he's not ready in a couple weeks."
--RHP LaTroy Hawkins (broken right pinkie finger) went on the 15-day disabled list May 7. He threw off a mound May 25. Hawkins threw approximately 20 pitches in a simulated-game situation June 1. He began a minor league injury-rehabilitation assignment June 3. He is expected to be out until early to mid-June.
--RHP Jered Weaver (strained lower back) went on the 15-day disabled list May 29. He hopes to miss just two or three starts.
--OF Vernon Wells (torn ulnar collateral ligament in right thumb) went on the 15-day disabled list May 21. He underwent surgery May 22, and he is expected to be sidelined until mid- to late July.
--OF Ryan Langerhans (separated right shoulder) went on the 15-day disabled list May 21. He will not need surgery.
--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.
--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. He is unlikely to return before mid-June.