The difference in Kole Calhoun’s stance and approach at the plate is reflected in manager Mike Scioscia’s new moniker for his right fielder.
“It’s like Kole Calhoun Version 2.0,” Scioscia said. “He’s made some serious adjustments, but he’s letting his skill set play. He’s always had great hands, great balance, and he’s getting back into that feel. There’s no doubt that he’s more comfortable in the box.”
When Calhoun went on the disabled list because of a right oblique strain on June 2 he was batting .145 with a .374 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, one home run, one double and 11 RBIs in 50 games. He had almost four times as many strikeouts (43) as walks (11).
A three-week absence gave Calhoun time to refresh mentally and tinker with his mechanics. He returned on June 18 with a new stance, going from an upright position to one in which he is more hunched over and bent at the knees.
Better results followed. In his first 16 games back, Calhoun hit .288 with a .905 OPS, four homers, three doubles, nine RBIs, 10 strikeouts and four walks to boost his season average to .178 and OPS to .497 entering Friday.
“I’m trying to get into a better spot to put a better swing on the ball,” Calhoun said. “It’s a spot I used to get to in years’ past. It’s trying to simplify things, really. It’s going well so far.”
Calhoun spent so much time in the batting cage trying to swing his way out of his slump that it probably led to his oblique strain. But the injury allowed him to step off that treadmill.
“It kind of snowballs after a while and you start putting too much pressure on yourself,” Calhoun said. “I got some time off to put things in perspective, come back and simplify things. I’m trying to have fun, help the team win and not worry what the numbers are.”
Mike Trout nearly achieved a career milestone Thursday night in Seattle, pushing himself to the brink of his first ejection when he argued a pair of called third strikes in the first and fifth innings of a 4-1 loss to the Mariners.
“No, no, I’m not gonna get tossed,” Trout said Friday, chuckling about his exchanges with umpire Mark Ripperger. “I can’t in a 1-1 game. I was upset … but you want to stay in the game. You don’t want to hurt the team.”
Trout, a two-time most valuable player in his seventh big-league season, said it’s a point of pride to not let his temper get the best of him.
“Obviously, I respect the umpires,” he said. “I think that’s just how I was brought up and taught to play the game.”
Future’s so bright
Top prospect Jo Adell, an outfielder who was the 10th overall pick in the 2017 draft, was the only Angels minor leaguer selected to play in the July 15 All-Star Futures Game at Washington.
Adell, 19, began this season at Class-A Burlington, where he hit .326 with a 1.009 on-base-plus-slugging percentage, six homers, 19 doubles, 29 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 25 games.
That earned Adell a May 22 promotion to advanced Class-A Inland Empire, where he entered Friday with a .315 average, .954 OPS, 11 homers, 12 doubles, 29 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 39 games.
“Everything he does is explosive,” said Mike LaCassa, Angels director of minor league operations. “He brings every tool to the table.”
Reserve catcher Rene Rivera, out since May 17 because of surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, has been catching bullpen sessions, hitting and running. He hopes to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment next week and be activated after the All-Star break. … Reliever Jim Johnson (lumbar strain) expects to begin a rehab stint next week. … Reliever Oliver Drake was recalled on Friday, and right-hander Miguel Almonte was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake.