Mike Scioscia shakes up Angels lineup for game against Rays
Right fielder Torii Hunter was moved from his usual cleanup spot to the second spot for Wednesday night's game against the Tampa Bay Rays, part of lineup shakeup Manager Mike Scioscia hopes will spark an offense that has scored only 13 runs in the past seven games.
Third baseman Alberto Callaspo was moved from the fifth spot to the third spot, and designated hitter Bobby Abreu was dropped from the third spot to the cleanup spot. Hunter, who admits he's not a "prototypical cleanup hitter," is batting .234 with eight home runs and 32 runs batted in and has grounded into a league-high 16 double plays.
"We want to try to shake some things up to see if we can find some chemistry," Scioscia said. "This puts Torii in a position to just square the ball up and to not worry about being in the middle of the lineup and driving the ball. ... We needed to get a little more aggressive in the things we're trying."
In his 13-year big-league career, Hunter has started only 16 games in the second spot, batting .219 (14 for 64) with two homers and five RBIs, but he had no objections to the switch. The Angels have lost four straight games, six of seven and have been held to two runs or less 22 times in 63 games this season.
The 3-4-5 guys in Wednesday night's lineup, Callaspo, Abreu and Howie Kendrick, have combined to hit 12 home runs this season.
But, as Hunter said, "What's the worst that can happen? The last four days were the worst."
The Angels lineup: SS Maicer Izturis, RF Torii Hunter, 3B Alberto Callaspo, DH Bobby Abreu, 1B Mark Trumbo, LF Vernon Wells, CF Peter Bourjos, C Jeff Mathis, P Jered Weaver.
The Rays lineup: DH Johnny Damon, 2B Ben Zobrist, RF Matt Joyce, CF B.J. Upton, 1B Casey Kotchman, LF Justin Ruggiano, 3B Felipe Lopez, C Kelly Shoppach, SS Reid Brignac, P James Shields.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Angels outfielder Torii Hunter. Credit: J. Meric / Getty Images