No one thriving in role of DH

Times Staff Writer

The Angels are having rotation problems. No, not that rotation.

The plan to rotate three players through the corner outfield and designated hitter spots has helped keep Garret Anderson, Gary Matthews Jr. and Vladimir Guerrero relatively sound, but it has completely marginalized the DH position.

Entering Wednesday's game, Angels designated hitters, as a group, ranked last in the American League in batting (.163), on-base percentage (.261), slugging percentage (.240), home runs (one) and runs batted in (six), remarkable considering three of the team's supposed top hitters are sharing the job.

"You don't have to be a mathematician to understand the numbers aren't good," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We've looked at it from every angle. Obviously, if a trend like that continues, you're going to look for alternatives to make your offense as productive as possible."

Neither Anderson nor Guerrero wanted to DH -- both said so in spring training -- because they struggle to get into the flow of the game when they're not in the field. The numbers bear them out.

Anderson, who has started 11 games at DH, is batting .258 as a left fielder and .167 as a DH. Guerrero, who has started five games at DH, is batting .307 as a right fielder and .125 as a DH. Matthews, who has started six games at DH, is batting .241 as an outfielder and .208 as a DH.

"They're not used to DHing," hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "They're doing the best they can to get ready by stretching, hitting in the cages to keep loose. I don't know . . . "

Would the Angels benefit by using one of the three as more of a regular DH, so that player could grow more accustomed to the role? Scioscia thinks not.

"There is another purpose here that is important -- keeping continuity in the lineup and letting guys re-charge a bit," Scioscia said. "We want to keep guys fresh.

"Right now, I think the offense is still productive, even though some have struggled at DH. But if those four guys [including Torii Hunter] are healthy the whole year, and their individual numbers are where they should be, then we're going to be fine as a whole."


Nick Adenhart, the 21-year-old right-hander who is the Angels' top pitching prospect, will make his major league debut tonight against the A's on three days rest.

Adenhart, who was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake after Wednesday night's game, is 4-0 with an 0.87 earned-run average in five starts, including Sunday's win over Fresno, in which he gave up an unearned run in eight innings and threw 98 pitches.

Scioscia said Adenhart, who underwent reconstructive elbow surgery as a high school senior in 2004, would probably make three starts in place of Dustin Moseley, who returned to the bullpen this week.

Adenhart, who mixes an excellent curve and changeup with his fastball, has appeared dominant this season but has struggled with his control, walking 15 and striking out 19 in 31 innings. He has not given up a home run.


Though Howie Kendrick is still experiencing "a little soreness" in his strained left hamstring, Scioscia said the second baseman, sidelined since April 14, could begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight.

If Kendrick, who has been running at full speed for several days, experiences no setbacks, he could be activated Friday.


Maicer Izturis, who hasn't played since leaving Sunday's game in Detroit because of lower-back spasms, underwent an MRI test Wednesday, an indication the infielder's injury could be serious enough to send him to the DL. The results of the test were not immediately available.


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