Lines and Notes, Game 2 …
Angels manager Mike Scioscia called Matt Joyce into his office early Tuesday afternoon to let him know he wouldn’t be in the lineup against Mariners lefty James Paxton, and perhaps also to ensure him that he isn’t a strict platoon player.
Joyce — heading into his final year before free agency — entered the season hopeful that he would be used in more of an everyday role, contrary to how he was used with the Rays, who gave him only 93 plate appearances against lefties. But he’s sitting against the first lefty of the season, with Collin Cowgill playing left field and David Freese moving into the cleanup spot. Scioscia explained to Joyce that he wants to incorporate his bench players more frequently early in the season.
Down the road,
“I wouldn’t say that I’m really surprised,” Joyce said of not being in the lineup. “For the last week, I haven’t really been dialed in. Sometimes that’s just the way it goes. If I was squaring a lot of balls left and right and was feeling good this past week, I’d be a lot more surprised than I am. But that’s the way the game goes sometimes. It’s a tough game, and it’s even tougher to be really consistent at. But for me, I’m going to be prepared for later in the game, when the situation arises and he looks my way, to come in the clutch or whatever it may be.”
Joyce, a 30-year-old left-handed hitter, has a career .819 OPS against righties and a .573 OPS against lefties. It’s a double-edged sword: You’re not going to get at-bats against same-side pitchers if you aren’t good against them, but you can’t get good against them unless you see them often.
“It’s extremely tough,” Joyce said. “It’s extremely tough when you’re going well and you’re seeing them a lot. I don’t think it’s anything that I’m really frustrated with. I’ll take the at-bats from lefties as they come and just keep working, man. That’s all you can do. Keep preparing and keep grinding. It’s a long season, so I’m sure I’ll get plenty of at-bats against them.”
Here are the lineups …
Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
C.J. Cron, DH
Erick Aybar, SS
Chris Iannetta, C
Johnny Giavotella, 2B
SP: LH C.J. Wilson (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Rickie Weeks, DH
Austin Jackson, CF
Robinson, Cano, 2B
Nelson Cruz, RF
Kyle Seager, 3B
Justin Ruggiano, LF
Logan Morrison, 1B
Mike Zunino, C
Brad Miller, SS
SP: LH Paxton (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Huston Street didn’t want to talk about a potential extension on Monday, but was more than happy to take questions Tuesday and echoed the same sentiments Jerry Dipoto had prior to Opening Day: Talks have been good, and they will continue.
“We are close enough that I’m still engaged,” said Street, who was self represented but rehired his former agent, Alan Hendricks, to do the bulk of the negotiating with the team because the season has begun.
“I wanted to get it done before [the season], as every player does, for no other reason than it allows you to be singularly focused on your teammates. But the parameters are pretty clear based on timetables. The only thing that could shift anything is the amount of time it takes. Signing a contrat in April is a little different than signing in August. But we have a clear understanding of how timing of getting something done may or may not shift those parameters.”
Street wouldn’t go into specifics of how much of the deal is done and what the chances are that something will be done, but said, “I’m a blend of hopeful and optimistic.”