ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Statistically speaking, Angel Stadium is one of Joe Mauer’s favorite places to hit. But the Twins first baseman could only offer reasons why it’s not hitter-friendly.
“It’s really something you can’t explain because the background isn’t too great, especially during day games,” Mauer said Thursday. “The Coors sign out beyond center field is a light-colored sign. So Jered Weaver would find a way to get his hand coming out of there.”
Weaver is now with the Padres, and Mauer was pleased to see that the Coors sign has been repainted when he took the field for warmups.
“That’s the darkest it’s ever been,” he said with a grin.
He has running out of reasons to grumble about a place where he produces.
In 78 career games in Anaheim, Mauer is batting .343 with nine home runs, 49 RBI, a .416 on-base percentage and .911 on base-plus-slugging percentage.
Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field is the only road stadium where he has played at least 50 games and has a higher batting average (.364) and OPS (.958). Miller Park in Milwaukee is the other park where he has been statically dominant with a .343 batting average and .954 OPS.
This time, Mauer rolls into Anaheim on a roll. After batting .225 in April — the worst start to a season in his career — he batted .346 with a .442 on-base percentage in May. The reason for the turnaround?
“It’s kind of funny,” he said. “To start the season, especially in April, it was one of the top Aprils in terms of how I felt. Having good at-bats there and squaring the ball up consistently. It didn’t look like that, numbers-wise. But I was feeling pretty good.”
And he might be set up to get off to a good start in June, with four games at a ballpark that has been good to him.
“Whatever the reason is,” Mauer said, “I hope the trend continues.”
The Twins entered Thursday having used 12 relievers over their previous four games. That included starter Hector Santiago and catcher Chris Gimenez.
The number of bullpen arms should increase this series, as righthander Alex Wimmers and lefthander Randy Rosario have been called up. Rosario was expected to arrive during the game.
Wimmers and Rosario replaced lefthander Jason Wheeler, who was designated for assignment, and righthander Ryan Pressly, who was optioned to Class AAA Rochester.
“We’ve had a little bit of a revolving door,” Twins manager Paul Molitor said.
Wimmers debuted at age 27 last year after dealing with injuries and wildness in the minors. The 2010 first-round pick posted a 4.15 ERA in 16 outings but was removed from the 40-man roster after the season. He was a late cut from spring training after giving up two runs over nine innings.
“I liked having him around last year in that he’s versatile, and I know he can give me a little bit of length,” Molitor said of Wimmers, who had a 3.94 ERA in 14 games at Rochester this year.
Rosario, 23, is being promoted from Class AA Chattanooga, where he had a 1.90 ERA in 10 games with six walks and 20 strikeouts in 23⅔ innings.
“He’s got a lot of moxie and a lot of poise for a young kid,” Molitor said.
Pressly needs work
Pressly was supposed to be a key bullpen arm for the Twins. Instead, he is back in the minors, trying to figure things out.
Molitor said he had be honest with Pressly when he talked with him following Wednesday’s outing, when he gave up a home run and a walk to the two batters he faced.
“It’s not working,” Molitor said. “We know it has the ability to work because we have seen it work.”
Molitor said Pressly really struggles when he falls behind hitters, so he has to work on throwing strikes earlier in the count. And Pressly tends to overthink situations.