SEATTLE -- Erick Aybar has gotten the walks expected of him as a leadoff hitter, but he might be too patient for his own good.Aybar leads the Angels with 16 free passes and he added a career-high three on Friday night against the Mariners, but his .241 batting average and .657 on-base-plus-slugging percentage (OPS) aren't up to snuff with expectations, especially for a player who hit .312 last season. He also has 22 strikeouts, which Scioscia believes are related to Aybar trying to draw more walks. "I definitely think some of the strikeouts have been a byproduct of trying to work counts and force counts where he could have maybe put a ball in play early in the count, and he ends up striking out," Scioscia said. "I think that's what happens to a lot of guys who are up there and have to work counts. You're going to get into deeper counts a lot, and sometimes you're going to draw more walks and sometimes it's going to create situations with more strikeouts." Scioscia added that he still thinks Aybar has performed better than his numbers show, and he said he's excited to see if Aybar can get the hits to match his walks and spark the Angels' lineup. The man he's replacing atop the order, Seattle's Chone Figgins, has had even less success at the plate as the Mariners' No. 2 hitter. Figgins is hitting .198, though he also leads his team in walks with 22. Aybar said he learned the patient approach while playing alongside Figgins. "As the leadoff man, you have to work counts," Aybar said. "That's what I'm doing right now. I'm still the same person, staying aggressive with my swings, but right now I feel comfortable taking some pitches. "I would watch Figgins play, and I like how he plays the game. He took walks and got hits, the things a leadoff man should."
Izturis lands on DL; Frandsen called up
SEATTLE -- The Angels placed infielder Maicer Izturis on the 15-day disabled list on Saturday and called up Kevin Frandsen -- whom they claimed off waivers on April 29 and penciled into the starting lineup -- after an MRI revealed inflammation in Izturis' throwing shoulder.Izturis aggravated his shoulder while diving for a ball on Monday against the Red Sox. He served as the designated hitter on Wednesday but was unable to play in the field. Manager Mike Scioscia said Izturis will be examined by team orthopedist Lewis Yocum when he returns to Los Angeles. "Preliminary reports are that [the inflammation] is going to take a little bit of time to calm down," Scioscia said. "Dr. Yocum will review it, and we'll get a little more information as we move through, but it's inflamed right now and it's going to take a little bit of time, so he just needs to take a step back right now." With Izturis out of action, Scioscia was quick to turn to Frandsen, who hit .286 in nine games with Triple-A Salt Lake. In limited action across four seasons with the Giants, he posted a .240 batting average, but he began this season with the Red Sox. Frandsen hit a grand slam for Boston against Baltimore during Spring Training but didn't make the big club. He started at third base on Saturday, but Scioscia expects him to fill in at other spots around the horn. "Kevin brings versatility on the infield, we need a guy that gives us coverage at second, short and third, and Frandsen brings that," Scioscia said.
Matsui may get day off Sunday
SEATTLE -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he may hold Hideki Matsui out of the lineup during Sunday's series finale with the Mariners, a move that would aim to give the slumping slugger a chance to rest and end his skid at the plate.Matsui hit .310 through the first 19 games of the season, but since then, his average has steadily dropped. After going without a hit in his fourth straight game on Friday night, Matsui's average stands at .230. "We'll see," Scioscia said before Saturday's contest. "We talked a little bit after the game last night. He feels good, and I think it's a good day for him to play today, but we'll take a look and see where we are tomorrow." During his slump, Matsui has gone 4-for-42 with 11 strikeouts and five walks, and Scioscia attributed the problem to timing. "His bat speed looks good," Scioscia said. "He's hit some balls hard in the streak. He's drawn some walks. It's not like he's not doing anything to help us. But he's not squaring balls up like he did earlier in the season. He'll get back there, he's fine."
Scot Shields closed out Friday's 8-0 win against the Mariners by throwing 1 2/3 innings of hitless relief, and that was his longest outing in almost a year. He threw two innings in a win against the Royals on May 10, 2009, when he also didn't allow a hit. During his career, Shields has held Seattle hitters to a .205 batting average and just .148 at Safeco Field.
Mike McCall is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.