Kinsler out of leadoff spot for 1st time this year

Cozart replaces veteran infielder at top of lineup for Wednesday's finale

May 9th, 2018

DENVER -- came into Wednesday's series finale in Colorado with 22 games under his belt for the season and 22 times hitting leadoff for the Angels. For the first time this year, Kinsler was out of the leadoff spot.

Kinsler was struggling through a 1-for-20 road trip and an 0-for-14 streak, and his slash line of .189/.260/.256 was well short of the expectation for an effective table-setter in front of , and .

"Right now there is a lot of focus on whoever is hitting in front of Mike," manager Mike Scioscia said before the Angels' 8-0 win in the second of the two-game set with the Rockies. "Ian is just working on a couple things. I'm sure at some point he's going to get back up there."

Zack Cozart -- who led off for 13 games when Kinsler, who batted sixth Wednesday, was on the disabled list early in the season or otherwise out of the lineup -- was back at the top of the order and made an immediate impact, doubling in his first at-bat then homering in the third inning.

Entering Wednesday's game, Cozart was slashing .238/.293/.434 and was 5-for-14 with three doubles, a homer, an RBI and three runs in a three-game hitting streak on the five-day road trip. He hit .313 (10-for-32) over his previous eight games following an eight-game slump that had him hitting .037 (1-for-27).

Kinsler went 1-for-4, with an RBI single in the eighth.

Kinsler is in his first season with the Angels, after spending the previous four seasons with the Tigers. He is fourth all-time with 47 homers from the leadoff position, trailing Rickey Henderson (81), Alfonso Soriano (54), and Craig Biggio (53).

Middleton ready to return

Angels closer is close to returning from the disabled list where he's been recovering from elbow inflammation. He went on the DL retroactive to April 29.

Middleton started a rehab game with the Triple-A Salt Lake City Bees on Tuesday, pitching one inning, walking two and striking out two. Scioscia said he could be activated in time for Thursday's series opener with the Twins.

"He walked the first two guys, but everything looked good," Scioscia said. "His velocity was good. He came back and cleaned up the inning with no damage. I think he feels good coming out of it. We will evaluate him today and just see what the next step is."

Honorary bat girl

Each Major League Baseball team has designated an honorary bat girl for Sunday's Mother's Day games as part of their effort to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer. Those honored with the position are individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to fighting breast cancer.

The Angels' honoree is Anne Fleck, an occupational therapist working with children with special needs in Orange County. Fleck is a survivor, and her breast cancer was discovered last August after a routine mammogram. Her early detection and subsequent ability to avoid chemotherapy or radiation treatment serves as a reminder for women to get routine check-ups to aid in the early detection of the disease.

Players will wear special uniforms on Mother's Day, with pink-crowned caps and a pink ribbon on their jerseys. They'll also have the option of wearing pink socks, compression sleeves, wrist bands, footwear, catcher's equipment, and more, and many players will choose to use pink bats during games on Mother's Day.

Louisville Slugger will donate proceeds from the sale of their pink bats, which will be stamped with the MLB breast cancer awareness logo, to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer, and Major League Baseball will donate its licensed uniform royalties through Mother's Day apparel to Susan G. Komen and Stand Up To Cancer.