Speier relives highlights

Times Staff Writer

Justin Speier sat in a conference room Tuesday watching what pitching coach Mike Butcher called a “dig-me” video, a collection of at-bats in which the reliever was dominant. Just guessing, but there probably weren’t many clips from this season.

The right-hander has struggled so much that the question is no longer will Speier regain the setup job he lost to Jose Arredondo, but will he pitch well enough to help this team -- or remain on it?

Speier entered Tuesday with a 1-4 record and 5.22 earned-run average in 39 appearances, giving up 39 hits, including 10 home runs, and 19 walks, and hitting six batters in 39 2/3 innings.

Since May 4, he has given up 20 earned runs and 30 hits, walked 12 and hit four batters in 27 1/3 innings for a 6.59 ERA.


“My work ethic, focus, velocity and stuff are the same as last year,” said Speier, in the second year of a four-year, $18-million deal. “But last year, when I made a mistake or two, they’d foul them off or pop up. This year, they’re hitting them.”


Speier throws from a three-quarter arm slot that “doesn’t create a downhill angle,” Butcher said, so for him to be effective, he needs to keep the ball down.

Butcher requested the highlight video so Speier could “look at some positive things and reinforce the things he needs to do. If the mind is right, the body is right.”

Tuesday was an exercise in visualization.

“Everybody has a dig-me video,” said Butcher, who pitched for the Angels in 1995. “Mine was on VHS.”

Benched and bummed

Gary Matthews Jr. had his chance, starting 70 of the first 76 games. Now, he wants another chance, but he probably won’t get it. Manager Mike Scioscia made that clear Tuesday when he said, “Juan Rivera needs to play.”

Matthews, hitting .232 with seven homers and 34 runs batted in and diagnosed last week with a slight tear in the patella tendon in his left knee, is having trouble swallowing his demotion.

“I would rather play every day,” said Matthews, who dropped a fly ball in right field and went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts Monday night, his first start since July 12.

Is that possible with his injury?

“I think it is -- I’d like to find out,” Matthews said.

Let’s make a deal

Some trade rumors are so out there you can only laugh at them.

That was the reaction Tuesday to a St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist who wrote the Angels could acquire Atlanta slugger Mark Teixeira for utility player Robb Quinlan and prospect Brandon Wood.

“I think it’s going to take a little more than that,” Quinlan said.

“Wow,” General Manager Tony Reagins said.

Short hops

Catcher Jeff Mathis threw out Jamey Carroll attempting to steal in the first inning, ending a streak of 29 straight stolen bases by Angels opponents. . . . Catcher Mike Napoli, out because of an irritated shoulder, played catch for seven minutes at 90 feet and “felt good.”