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Mark Trumbo drops toe tap for leg kick, gets immediate results

May 31, 2011 |  9:26 am

Trumbo_275 It was a small change, unnoticeable to all but the closest observers. But so far it’s paid off big for the Angels and rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo.

After going hitless in four at-bats Friday in Minnesota, dropping his average to .240, the lowest it’s been in a month, Trumbo dropped the toe tap he had been using as a timing device since last winter and went back to the leg kick he used last season when he led the minors with 36 home runs at Triple A Salt Lake.

The change paid off immediately with Trumbo slugging two long home runs -- combined, the two balls traveled nearly 900 feet -- in his next two starts, helping the Angels to a pair of victories.

“I did it in Venezuela in winter ball because I was seeing a ton of breaking balls, and at the  time it helped me stay behind [the ball] a little bit,” Trumbo said of the toe tap. “But it seemed like I got a little stale recently.”

The leg kick is similar but not as pronounced as the one hitting coach Dwayne Murphy taught José Bautista when Bautista came to Toronto. After hitting 43 home runs in 400 games in Pittsburgh, Bautista has hit 74 in the last two years in Toronto.

How long he stays with the leg kick will be determined by how well he’s hitting, Trumbo said.

“I’ll switch things up a couple of times a year,” said Trumbo, who leads the Angels in homers with 10 and leads major league rookies in homers, extra-base hits (19) and total bases (83). “Open up or a higher leg kick just to [give] it a new look every once in a while.”

And speaking of hitting streaks, when Bobby Abreu (4 for 5), Torii Hunter (3 for 5) and Alberto Callaspo (3 for 4) combined for 10 hits in Monday’s win at Kansas City, it marked the first time in 17 years that the Angels’ 3-4-5 hitters combined for at least 10 hits. The last time, in May 1994, the trio consisted of Tim Salmon (5 for 5), Chili Davis (4 for 5) and Bo Jackson (2 for 3).

[For the record, 9:47 a.m. May 31: An earlier version of this post misspelled Chili Davis' last name as David and Bo Jackson's first name as Bob.]

RELATED:

Angels manage to sneak past Twins, 6-5

Torii Hunter has a day for the ages in Angels' 10-8 victory over Royals

-- Kevin Baxter in Kansas City, Mo.

Photo: Mark Trumbo hits a solo home run against the Minnesota Twins during the ninth inning of their game on May 29. Credit: Hannah Foslien / Getty Images

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