Angels don’t blame Mickey Hatcher for offensive woes
Reporting from Seattle
It’s as predictable as the fireworks show after Friday night games and “Build Me Up Buttercup” playing during the seventh-inning stretch in Angel Stadium.
The Angels go into an extended offensive funk, and the “Fire Mickey Hatcher” rants fill message boards and radio call-in shows.
There were similar pleas for the hitting coach’s job in 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010. Hatcher survived those, and chances are he will weather the latest fan criticism.
“It hasn’t come up internally,” Manager Mike Scioscia said when asked whether Hatcher’s job was in jeopardy. “Mickey does a terrific job with these guys. Like anything, if we’re not doing our jobs, someone else will get the opportunity, but that’s not the case with Mickey.”
The Angels entered Monday having scored three runs or fewer in 10 of 11 games, hit one home run in 11 games and hit .214 with runners in scoring position this month. They were held to two runs or fewer in 24 of their first 67 games and shut out nine times.
The Texas Rangers and Florida Marlins recently fired their hitting coaches, and neither was struggling to the extent the Angels have. But neither Scioscia nor his hitters think Hatcher is part of the problem.
“I don’t know why people think [firing Hatcher] is a solution,” outfielder Torii Hunter said. “If you look behind the scenes, you’d see that Mickey works so hard he nearly passes out because he’s not drinking enough water or eating anything.
“So many guys are struggling, and they always want his time. He gives it to them, hours, before we even take batting practice. He’s frustrated, he’s stressed out, yet he still believes in us and gives us words of encouragement.”
And, as designated hitter Bobby Abreu said, “We are the ones with the bat in our hands. He doesn’t swing, so it’s not his fault.”
The Angels placed reliever Fernando Rodney on the 15-day disabled list because of an upper-back strain Monday and recalled right-hander Bobby Cassevah from triple-A Salt Lake.
Scioscia said Rodney, who has a 4.09 earned-run average in 26 games, felt discomfort “on and off for a couple of weeks” and aggravated the injury against Tampa Bay on Wednesday. The right-hander did not accompany the team on the trip.
Cassevah was 1-3 with a 4.64 ERA in 18 games at Salt Lake, striking out 12 and walking 10 in 211/3 innings.
Right-hander Michael Kohn has a 2.96 ERA in 25 games at Salt Lake, “but the reports from the triple-A staff were that Cassevah was throwing the ball the best,” Scioscia said.
The Angels also could have recalled Kevin Jepsen, who was optioned to Salt Lake on Sunday, “but he’s trying to find himself and needs to work on stuff he can’t experiment with in a major league game,” Scioscia said.
General Manager Tony Reagins will be in Salt Lake for Scott Kazmir’s fifth rehabilitation start, against Sacramento, Tuesday night. Kazmir is 0-4 with a 15.15 ERA in four triple-A starts and will have only one more start after Tuesday. The Angels must decide by June 22 whether to activate the left-hander or release him and absorb his $14.5-million contract. … Third baseman Alberto Callaspo (pulled left hamstring) “feels better,” according to Scioscia but was not in Monday’s lineup.
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