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Angels newbie Fletcher has three hits and makes smart defensive play

After 13 seasons as a player and 19 as a manager, Mike Scioscia had some simple advice for David Fletcher as he made his big league debut.

“Go play baseball,” Scioscia said. “It’s a baseball game. It’s not a major league baseball game. It’s not a triple-A game or wherever you played. It’s a baseball game.”

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Yeah, a baseball game. A weird baseball game.

Fletcher not only had three hits, including a two-run triple, Wednesday, but he also was involved in one of the strangest plays that will happen all season.

With the Angels leading 6-5 in the seventh inning, Seattle’s Jean Segura tried to score from third on a fly ball to short left when Justin Upton’s throw sailed wide of home.

Catcher Martin Maldonado scrambled to snag the errant toss, leaving the plate exposed.

“My instincts took over to go cover, I guess,” said Fletcher, who was standing between third and home when he reacted.

Playing only his ninth professional game ever at third base, he arrived just as Segura did, taking the relay from Maldonado and making the tag.

The play was reviewed by the umpires and the call stood, allowing the Angels to maintain their one-run lead, although that edge would disappear the next inning.

“He’s got a great baseball IQ,” Scioscia said. “He understands the game.”

Fletcher, 24, is a natural second baseman -- Scioscia said, long term, that will be his position -- but he also has played third and short this season for triple-A Salt Lake.

He learned of his promotion Tuesday afternoon while sitting poolside in Utah, enjoying an off day for the Angels affiliate.

“Pretty surprised,” said Fletcher, who played at Cypress High and Loyola Marymount. “You can’t really predict that.”

His promotion was the second bit of big baseball news for the Fletcher family this week. David’s younger brother, Dominic, is headed to the College World Series with Arkansas.

“It’s an exciting week for both of us,” Fletcher said. Asked which development was more significant, he smiled and said, “I don’t know. They’re both pretty big.”

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Calhoun homers in first at-bat

Right fielder Kole Calhoun began his rehabilitation assignment Wednesday with Salt Lake and homered in his first at-bat.

Out since May 31 because of a strained oblique, Calhoun has struggled on offense, hitting .145 with one homer and 11 RBIs in 173 at-bats.

“He’s been working on adjustments the whole season, trying to get his swing where he wants it,” Scioscia said. “We just him to go out there and hit and see how he feels and see how it goes.”

By rule, Calhoun can remain in the minors for up to 20 days.

Production from right field has been an issue for the Angels with or without Calhoun. The other three players -- Chris Young, Michael Hermosillo and Jabari Blash -- who also have started there have batted a combined .148.

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