TEMPE, Ariz. -- Forty-six at-bats and four hits into what can only be categorized as a miserable spring, Bobby Abreu got what Angels manager Mike Scioscia described as a mental day of rest on Thursday.
At this point, with only eight days left until Opening Day, Abreu's struggles may have less to do with mechanics and timing, and more to do with whatever may be rattling around in his head.
"Yes, there is some of that," Scioscia said. "That's why today Bobby is just taking a day. He's going to go down and work with [hitting coach] Mickey [Hatcher] on the lower fields and try to bring along some things that he's been trying to do."
If Abreu does want to be on a team where he can find more regular playing time -- as he has hinted in a couple of Spanish-language publications -- he certainly hasn't made it easy on general manager Jerry Dipoto. The Angels already had a hard time dealing the 38-year-old slugger because of his $9 million salary, and may now find it impossible with his .087 Cactus League batting average.
The Albert Pujols acquisition already limited Abreu's role on the team. And this spring -- as Kendrys Morales has worked his way back and Mark Trumbo has made himself an option at verious positions -- Abreu's playing time has seemingly only dwindled, prompting outside questions about whether it'd be best to simply release him.
"I'm fine," said Abreu, who has had a couple of closed-door meetings with Dipoto and Scioscia this spring. "I don't have any problems. That's been talked about. There's no problems. For me, the most important thing is to finish getting ready for the season, so that whenever they need me, I'm ready."
Scioscia said he's noticed Abreu's swing looking better the last three or four days -- even though he's hitless in his last 17 at-bats.
"I feel like I'm letting the ball get deeper," Abreu said, "and I feel better, more comfortable at the plate. I keep working. There's a week left, but I feel good. I'll repeat it again. I know I'm not batting what I need to, but sometimes you don't look for that [in Spring Training]. You look to be ready for the season."
Bourjos getting hit angers Scioscia
TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels' Kendrys Morales, Mark Trumbo and Hank Conger hit back-to-back-to-back homers against Royals starter Everett Teaford during the second inning at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Thursday.
Then, Teaford's very next pitch grazed the left arm of Peter Bourjos, drawing some words from the Angels' center fielder and the ire of manager Mike Scioscia.
"I don't think any of us liked that," Scioscia said. "Our guy was getting knocked around in the first inning, and we didn't throw at anybody. You try to make better pitches. It was something that was uncalled for."
The Royals scored seven runs off Eric Hurley in the first two frames -- six of which came on homers by Eric Hosmer, Jeff Francoeur and Yuniesky Betancourt -- before the Angels answered in the bottom of the second with three solo homers and a two-run double by Albert Pujols in an eventual 11-8 win.
Shortly after the hit-by-pitch, Scioscia had a short, heated on-field conversation with home-plate umpire Dana DeMuth, seemingly over a warning issued to his club for screaming from the dugout.
Teaford said there was no malicious intent, but added: "I'm going to protect my spot."
"I guess they don't like to be pitched up and in. That's part of the game sometimes, and I wasn't trying to necessarily hit him in the head or anything. He was on top of the plate, he was close. But it grazed him and went straight back to the backstop. But they were mad."
The Royals and Angels open up the season against one another in a three-game weekend series that begins at Angel Stadium on April 6.
Royals manager Ned Yost defended the intentions of his pitcher, but understood Scioscia's disposition.
"First of all, Teaford was trying to bust the guy up and in," Yost said. "He'd been going hard, hard, hard and got it too far in. Second of all, if I'm managing and I've got guys on my team that hit back-to-back-to-back home runs and the next player gets hit on the first pitch, I'm going to get upset, too. I understand it. It wasn't intentional by any stretch of the imagination, but I understand how you'd get upset. I'd be upset, too."
Ervin Santana, the Angels' likely No. 3 starter, threw 91 pitches in 6 1/3 innings during a Minor League start on Thursday -- giving up one run on three hits while walking two and striking out six. His last start of the spring is scheduled to fall on Tuesday, against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
Morales hit his first homer of the spring from the right side, the first of consecutive shots off Teaford. Morales is now batting .625 (10-for-16) with two homers in Cactus League play. He is one of several everyday players off to good starts. Erick Aybar (.411), Howie Kendrick (.404), Pujols (.388) and Trumbo (.341) are also swinging the bat well.
Angels closer Jordan Walden recorded two strikeouts in a clean ninth inning on Thursday, and has now posted three straight scoreless appearances -- giving up one hit, walking none and striking out five.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, listen to his podcast and follow him on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.