Angels try David Fletcher in the leadoff spot
The Angels’ No. 6 hitter rightly received the attention Tuesday, Shohei Ohtani’s return noticed by all of baseball.
But their No. 1 hitter also deserved a little recognition, David Fletcher promoted to the top of the order for the second time this season.
“He’s seeing pitches and putting the ball in play,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “If he can continue to do that, we feel the on-base [percentage] will follow.”
With Seattle starting left-hander Wade LeBlanc, Kole Calhoun wasn’t in the lineup. Calhoun had hit first in each of the past three games.
Fletcher led off the game with a single but was hitless in his last three at-bats as LeBlanc held them to three hits in seven innings of a 4-1 win.
Fletcher, one of five Angels to bat leadoff in 2018, entered the game with a .324 average and .375 on-base percentage, both numbers significantly better than what the Angels have received from their No. 1 hitters.
Scioscia explained that he will continue to look at a variety of lineup possibilities, particularly with Ohtani now rejoining the team.
Ohtani was reinstated from the disabled list and went 0 for 4 as designated hitter.
Along with adding Ohtani, the Angels promoted reliever Miguel Almonte from triple-A Salt Lake. Pitchers Eduardo Paredes and Deck McGuire were optioned down.
Paredes already has has eight stints with the Angels this season, the right-hander ping-ponging between Anaheim and Salt Lake City.
Almonte, 25, was acquired in April from Kansas City. He pitched in 11 games for the Royals in parts of two seasons.
He is in line to become the 50th player and 29th pitcher to be used by the Angels this season.
“He’s got a power arm,” Scioscia said. “He hasn’t had a real long look in the major leagues, but I think we’re all excited to see how his arm is going to play.”
Garrett Richards (hamstring) is expected to come off the disabled list Wednesday and start against Seattle. It would be his first game since being injured here June 13.
After winning his first start in May, Richards was 4-1 with a 3.93 ERA. He is 0-3 in seven starts since then, though his ERA during that time is 2.91.
Entering Tuesday, No. 3 hitter Justin Upton was batting .165 with runners in scoring position, eight of Luis Valbuena’s nine homers were solo shots and the Angels bullpen had given up 49 homers, the most in baseball…Scioscia began this week needing seven victories to pass Ralph Houk for 18th on the all-time list of managerial wins.
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