ARLINGTON -- Alberto Callaspo was welcomed by Erick Aybar and a few other old friends, returning to his original organization on Friday, and the Angels let him know they were happy to have him by putting him in the starting lineup, batting seventh, against Rangers southpaw C.J. Wilson in a game they really needed at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Acquired from the Royals in exchange for pitchers Sean O'Sullivan and Will Smith, Callaspo "is a guy who squares up a baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That appeals to us."
Callaspo, handed uniform No. 12, becomes the fourth Angels third baseman this season, and the others -- Brandon Wood, Kevin Frandsen and Maicer Izturis -- remain on the roster providing excellent depth at the position. The Angels have almost as many third basemen as starting pitchers now.
"I was excited," said Callaspo, who was signed by the Angels in 2001 as a Venezuelan teen, of his reaction when he learned of the trade in New York on Thursday. "This was my team when I signed. I grew up with this team."
Callaspo was primarily a second baseman in his youth, but he has taken well to third base the past two seasons in Kansas City and hopes to be there on a regular basis, although he'll be happy to fill in for good buddy Aybar at shortstop and Howard Kendrick at second.
"I'll just do my job anywhere they want me," Callaspo said, having been traded for the third time. The Angels sent him to Arizona for Jason Bulger, and the D-backs flipped him to the Royals for Billy Buckner.
A switch-hitter, Callaspo was hitting .275 with eight homers and 43 RBIs entering Friday. He had a .308 on-base percentage and .410 slugging mark. Playing 155 games last season, he batted .300 with 11 homers and a career-high 73 RBIs. He has cooled off lately, with two extra-base hits in his past 25 games, but said his stroke "feels good now" and he's ready to "help my team win games."
Angels go with contact hitters vs. Wilson
ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia clearly had contact in mind while making out his lineup for Friday night's game against Rangers lefty C.J. Wilson, who was matched against fellow southpaw Joe Saunders.
Newly acquired Alberto Callaspo, Kevin Frandsen and Reggie Willits formed the bottom third of the lineup -- three contact hitters Scioscia would like to see create some pressure. Third baseman Callaspo (29 strikeouts in 349 at-bats), first baseman Frandsen (six strikeouts in 136 at-bats) and left fielder Willits are at their best as situational hitters.
"We want to apply some pressure, get some good at-bats from these guys," Scioscia said. "Kevin's shown the ability, not only to put the ball in play, but be a good situational hitter. Alberto can square up a baseball, and Reggie can do a lot of things in the No. 9 hole."
Hideki Matsui, with two homers, a double and five RBIs while batting .385 on the road trip, was given a day off but will be in the lineup the next two nights against righties Scott Feldman and Tommy Hunter, Scioscia said.
Stokes enthused about progress
ARLINGTON -- Brian Stokes, the right-handed reliever acquired from the Mets for Gary Matthews Jr. over the winter, is feeling optimistic about his chances of getting back on the mound after being inactive with shoulder fatigue since May 10.
Stokes came through a bullpen session on Thursday in good shape and hopes to continue building endurance in the days ahead.
"No stiffness, no soreness," Stokes said. "It feels as normal as can be. I'll keep throwing bullpens, more pitches. I threw 30 yesterday, all fastballs. I'll probably throw some changeups next bullpen. It's very encouraging. I just need to build up a little more endurance and let it go."
Right-hander Trevor Bell will assume the starting role in Sunday night's series finale against the Rangers, Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed. Bell, who has 15 relief appearances this season, will be making his first start this season and fifth of his big league career. He had three starts at Triple-A Salt Lake, reaching 83 pitches, and feels he can get to 100 if necessary. ... Minor League spotlight: Eric Junge, a 6-foot-5 right-hander with Major League credentials with the Phillies from 2002-03, appears to be moving up the Angels' starting-pitching depth chart. Junge, who was 2-0 with a 2.21 ERA in 10 games for the Phils, delivered six shutout innings, striking out four and walking one, in an 11-3 win over Fresno on Thursday. He's 1-0 with a 2.96 ERA in five games. Cory Aldridge seems to be handling his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake well. The outfielder went 4-for-6 with a homer and two doubles and has seven RBIs in his past seven games. Another ex-Angel in the outfield, Terry Evans, also had two doubles among four hits and has eight hits in his past 15 at-bats. ... The promotion to high Class A Rancho Cucamonga isn't slowing down the Mike Trout Express. The soon to be 19-year-old center fielder is hitting .300 with a .933 OPS, with two doubles, a triple and a homer in eight games. Right-hander Tyler Chatwood continues to impress at Rancho Cucamonga. The Redlands, Calif., product is 8-3, with a 1.77 ERA in 14 games with 70 strikeouts and 36 walks in 81 1/3 innings. ... At low Class A Cedar Rapids, Garrett Richards looks ready to move on up. He's 8-4 with 108 strikeouts and 34 walks in 108 1/3 innings after beating Dayton, 8-1, Thursday. First baseman Casey Haerther is batting .320 and leads the club with 62 RBIs, including eight in the past eight games.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.