Outfielder Jabari Blash starts for Angels after being called up

Kole Calhoun’s offensive struggles helped Jabari Blash get back in the big leagues.

The outfielder was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday and started in right field for the Angels. He singled and walked in five plate appearances against Seattle.

“These guys have been playing great baseball,” said Blash, 28, who appeared in 99 games with San Diego the past two seasons. “It’s been fun to watch. I was just looking forward to helping this team at some point.”

That point arrived sooner than expected. Coming off his poorest offensive season to date, Calhoun has been unable to find his swing, hitting .167 with a .211 slugging percentage.


On opening day, Calhoun, batting fifth, had three hits, including a home run and a triple in his first two at-bats.

He has not had an extra-base ever since; each of his past 17 hits were singles. He recently was dropped to eighth in the order.

“It’s just not what Kole’s about,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “He understands it. This guy’s too good of an offensive player. … He’ll get it back.”

Through the 2016 season, Calhoun was a .266 career hitter, and from 2014-17 he averaged 20 home runs.


Scioscia said Calhoun has been working on a few mechanical adjustments with the team’s hitting coaches.

“We’re trying to get Kole right,” Scioscia said . “He’s going to take a couple days to just kind of clear his head. …We’ll see where everything fits in.”

Backup outfielder Chris Young homered Sunday, but he also has had problems at the plate. The veteran is hitting .167 in 36 at-bats.

Blash, meanwhile, was the Pacific Coast League player of the month for April. He was batting .350 for the Bees, with a 1.291 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and 10 home runs.

“It’s been fun to watch what he’s done for a month down there in triple-A,” Scioscia said. “It’s been incredible.”

Using a batting stance he reworked over the winter, Blash has been emphasizing a high, striding leg kick while making a conscious effort to drive the ball into the air.

During one game in Salt Lake, he hit two homers, both clearing the center-field wall 420 feet away. The second home almost went over a 40-foot backdrop.



Relievers Keynan Middleton (elbow inflammation) and Blake Wood (elbow impingement) were both scheduled to throw off a mound on Sunday. …Reliever Eduardo Paredes was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake to open a roster spot for Blash.

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