Angel Manager Buck Rodgers has tried moving him down in the lineup, benching him for a couple of games, and having heart-to-heart talks with him.
Now, Rodgers wonders, if perhaps the organization made a mistake by not sending rookie first baseman J.T. Snow to the minors at one point during the season.
“I just don’t know how he would have responded,” Rodgers said, “that’s hard to predict. But it might not be too late now.
“I’m not saying that’s going to happen, but it’s an option. I mean, if you watch J.T. Snow take batting practice and J.T. Snow in a game, you get two different hitters.”
Snow, whose .229 batting average is the lowest among all regulars, has had only two stretches this season where he has not struggled. He batted .407 for 15 games from April 6-April 24, and .485 for 10 games from June 8 to June 19, but he has hit .135 in his remaining 65 games.
“I think before pitchers were testing me,” Snow said, “but now they’re saying they have to pitch to me.
“I know I haven’t done the job for the last couple of months, but I don’t feel as bad as I did before. I still think I’m learning more here than I would have in the minors.
“I know how to play the game, I’m just trying to learn the pitchers.”
While it was not a concession speech, Rodgers said that the Angels’ lengthy status as a contender in the American League West should not suddenly change their plans in the second half.
He reminded everyone that this was supposed to be a rebuilding year in the first place.
“The thing we don’t want to do is throw the season away and panic,” Rodgers said, “because we’ve had a momentary loss of reality. We’ll keep going with the objectives we set out with in (spring training).”
The Angels hired former pitcher Bert Blyleven as a special assignment roving pitching instructor. Blyleven will work with pitchers in the major and minor league spring training camps and visit their minor league affiliates during the season.
Said Bill Bavasi, Angel director of minor league operations: “His knowledge of pitching, plus understanding of ballplayers on all levels will make him an important element in our development process.”
Blyleven, 42, will start work Saturday, assisting Mike Couchee, Angel roving pitching instructor. He will report in mid-September to the Arizona Instructional League, and is expected to become a pitching coach in 1994 for one of the Angels’ Class-A affiliates.
Blyleven pitched for the Minnesota Twins, Texas Rangers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians and Angels during his 23-year career, compiling a 287-250 record.