Found April 11, 2012 on
Fox Sports West:
Los Angeles Angels
Toronto Blue Jays
It's no coincidence that Jerry Dipoto's first personnel moves as the Angels' general manager last fall were to trade for Chris Iannetta and trade away Jeff Mathis.
The catching position -- so near and dear to manager Mike Scioscia's heart -- had become a black hole in the Angels' lineup. Mathis, Bobby Wilson and rookie Hank Conger combined for a .192 average (29th in the majors), .555 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (28th), 10 home runs (25th) and 48 RBI (tied for 25th) in 2011.
Iannetta's career average of .236 and 63 home runs in parts of six seasons with the Rockies are no threat to Johnny Bench's exalted status, but they represent a major upgrade at the position for the Angels.
"I've had really good stretches as a hitter, and I've had really bad stretches," Iannetta said. "I want to eliminate the bad ones or make them not so bad and maximize the good ones. I work on that every day. I take a ton of swings. I constantly work on that.
"Offense is very important to me, but defense comes first."
Iannetta's good and bad stretches tended to divide based on where he was playing. Iannetta hit .301 with a .419 on-base percentage and a .557 slugging percentage with 10 home runs and 39 RBI at Coors Field in Colorado last season. On the road, though, he hit .172 with a .266 OBP in virtually the same number of plate appearances. His career splits aren't quite as exaggerated, but they are still weighted toward his former home field.
"No clue because when I had my best year, I think my splits were the opposite," Iannetta said, referring to 2008, when he hit .280 on the road and .250 at home (with a higher slugging percentage at home). "I think I was better on the road than at home. So I don't put any stock into it. I just think it's a sample size. You know what I think it was, too? I struggled in the first half. I had a really bad first half, and the majority of our games were away. I was struggling, and we just happened to be on the road more in those times."
Through his first four games as an Angel, Iannetta is 3-for-10 with two doubles and two RBI. Scioscia says Iannetta is still developing as a hitter but acknowledges an awareness of Iannetta's Coors Field history.
"I don't think Colorado was the only park he had all his success in throughout his career. But the splits -- there is a difference in the splits," Scioscia said. "He's working hard on some things, staying through the middle. I think he's going to contribute on the offensive end.
"He's going to add stuff. He's going to take some walks. He's going to work some counts. And he's got some pop in his swing. You're never going to be able to totally predict what a player is going to do, but I think Chris is making adjustments and moving forward. I think he's going to be productive."
Pujols off to a slow start
--1B Albert Pujols is just 3-for-14 (.214) through his first four games as an Angel with two doubles and one RBI. Pujols hit four grounders to third base while going 0-for-4 in Monday's game. Pujols' career average in April is his lowest for any month -- but it's still .316.
--RHP Jerome Williams allowed two runs in six innings Tuesday in his second rehab start for Class A Inland Empire. Williams, on the disabled list due to a strained left hamstring, could join the Angels' rotation the first time the team needs a fifth starter, Sunday
--INF Mark Trumbo has started two of the Angels' first four games at third base and made three errors in those games. Manager Mike Scioscia expressed disappointment that Trumbo had failed to make "some plays he made all spring," but he emphasized that Trumbo is still "a work in progress" as a third baseman.
--RHP Bobby Cassevah (shoulder) made his second appearance Monday for Class A Inland Empire on his rehab assignment. Cassevah pitched a scoreless inning, allowing a hit, walking a batter and striking out one. Cassevah will be eligible to come off the disabled list Sunday, but he probably will continue his rehab assignment beyond that, manager Mike Scioscia said.
--According to the annual Fan Cost Index survey at www.fancostexperience.com, tickets to Angels games remain one of the best bargains in sports again this season. Despite committing over 320 million to free agents Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last winter, the average non-premium ticket to an Angels game increased by only 4.1 percent for the 2012 season and still ranks as one of the lowest in baseball at 19.71.
--RHP Jered Weaver is scheduled to make his second start of the season today against the Twins. In his only start at Target Field in 2011, Weaver threw nine scoreless innings and allowed just two hits -- but he got no decision. The Angels were no-hit into the eighth inning by Twins RHP Anthony Swarzak, and they finished with one hit in a 1-0, 10-inning loss.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5 -- Current Angels who have hit 30 home runs in a season at some point during their careers (Albert Pujols, Torii Hunter, Vernon Wells, Kendrys Morales and Bobby Abreu). Only the Yankees have more players on their roster with 30-homer seasons to their credit (seven).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "When it's cold like that, you don't wanna swing. If I walk -- you know it's cold. I might walk two times today." -- OF Torii Hunter, on the low temperatures for the Angels' series in Minnesota this week.
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