OAKLAND — Johnny Giavotella surpassed his career high in home runs for a season on Saturday. The 28-year-old Angels second baseman is hitting for more power than he ever had at baseball’s highest level.
His fourth-inning blast off Oakland reliever Ryan Dull was just his fifth home run of the season, but in his 59th game. He had four in 129 games a year ago, and four in the first 125 games of his career over parts of four seasons for Kansas City.
He’s also doubled more often. Remarkably, his .405 slugging percentage is higher than Albert Pujols’ .399 mark through Saturday. Giavotella started the season struggling. He did not produce his first extra-base hit of 2016 until April 26, against the Royals. Since then, though, he has excelled.
“I’m just trusting my abilities, not deviating from my approach,” Giavotella said. “At this level of the game, it’s not so much mechanics. It’s more or less approach and swinging at good pitches. That’s what I’ve been able to do the last month and a half.”
Kole Calhoun’s power has also surged. He hit four home runs in his first 52 games of the season, and then five in the last 14, including one Friday night. In Saturday’s first and third innings, Calhoun flew out deep to center field.
Mike Scioscia sat Daniel Nava on Saturday, not wanting to start him in a day game after he returned to the majors Friday night. He’ll still start against most right-handers while healthy. … To activate Saturday starter Tim Lincecum, the Angels designated outfielder Todd Cunningham for assignment, opting for Shane Robinson’s speed and defensive ability over Cunningham’s on-base skills from their fourth outfielder role. … Catcher Geovany Soto (torn meniscus) took batting practice at the Oakland Coliseum on Saturday and could begin a minor league rehab assignment as soon as Monday. … Shortstop Brendan Ryan cleared waivers and reported to triple-A Salt Lake. … Many Angels players traveled south to Santa Clara after the game to attend the Mexico vs. Chile Copa America quarterfinals.