Former Angels first baseman Wally Joyner, in the midst of a one-week stint as a guest instructor, has paid particularly close attention to struggling left fielder Cameron Maybin, who is hitless in 19 at-bats in nine exhibition games, including Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Dodgers.
Joyner, who played the first six seasons and the last season of his 16-year career in Anaheim, spent the last three years as hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers. Maybin put up career bests in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage with the Tigers last season.
“He’s worried and he’s pressing, which doesn’t mix very well with baseball,” Joyner said of Maybin. “You have to allow your talent to play for you. I told him there’s a reason he’s here — not [for] what they want him to do, but [for] what he’s done, and to do that again.”
Maybin, acquired in a trade for minor league pitcher Victor Alcantara last November, walked twice and struck out in three plate appearances Monday. He has eight strikeouts and six walks this spring.
“He’s as loose as he can be in the clubhouse — we’ve got good chemistry in there, and he’s leading the charge, so I think he feels comfortable,” Manager Mike Scioscia said.
“He learned a lot about himself in the last couple of years, and last year he made a lot of adjustments with his swing. He’s probably just missed three or four home runs this spring, so he’s not that far off. He’ll find it. He just needs some time.”
Angels left fielders combined to produce the major league’s worst on-base-plus-slugging percentages in each of the last two seasons, .584 in 2016 and .592 in 2015, but Joyner is confident that Maybin, despite his slow start, will end the string this season.
“He’s pressing, not unlike any other great player who wants to come in and contribute [to a new team],” Joyner said. “But you’ll be pleased with him.”
The Angels also asked Joyner, 54, to work in the minor league complex with Matt Thaiss, a 2016 first-round pick from Virginia who made the transition from catcher to first base last summer.
Joyner, who lives in Utah, has offered to work with players at the Angels’ triple-A Salt Lake and rookie-league Orem, Utah, affiliates during the summer, and the Angels are receptive to the idea. Joyner would like to coach again in a full-time capacity if the right opportunity arises.
“I have grandkids now, and I really enjoy my summers,” he said. “I haven’t closed the door, but I don’t want to just take a job. I want one I would enjoy. Bench coach, manager, those jobs are few and far between, but they have my interest.”