One month before Saturday, Andrelton Simmons was the Angels' No. 9 hitter, carrying a .204 batting average and .494 OPS into the summer.
Saturday, Simmons was the Angels' No. 5 hitter, carrying a .279 average and .676 OPS after his two-for-four day at Minute Maid Park. He has been the team's hottest hitter for one month, and now both of those statistics are better than his career marks.
The shortstop has traced the improvement to his decision to revert to a toe tap he employed in his batting stance in 2014. Over time, he had switched to a larger leg lift that siphoned some of his balance while batting.
"All these adjustments, you never know exactly how they're going to play out," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "But I think he's getting comfortable. He's getting comfortable with the league, getting comfortable with different stadiums."
Catcher Carlos Perez re-joined the Angels on Saturday. When he was sent down two weeks ago, the Angels framed the choice as fueled by the desire to have the 25-year-old play daily. As he was called up, they said he had played enough to regain the confidence his earlier play showed he lacked.
"Just getting into an environment where he can experiment a little bit and figure some things was important," Scioscia said. "Part of it's need, obviously, but Carlos is a much better player than he showed up here."
In 31 triple-A at-bats, Perez recorded 11 hits, including a home run his first day down.
To make room for him on the 25-man roster, the Angels optioned journeyman Juan Graterol back to triple-A Salt Lake. After 11 consecutive seasons in the minor leagues, Graterol spent five days in the major leagues and did not appear once. He did receive roughly $14,000 for his time.
Cliff Pennington sat out forSalt Lake on Saturday after playing three straight games. The veteran infielder is on rehab assignment working his way back from a strained hamstring. Ineligible to be activated until July 31, he has started at shortstop and second base. …Left fielder Craig Gentry started Saturday for Salt Lake. Away from the Angels since April's end because of a back strain and a personal issue, he is eligible to return to the team at any time.