Angels slide Freese to seventh in batting order
ANAHEIM -- David Freese started his Angels career with a .140/.208/.209 slash line in 48 plate appearances, six months after the veteran third baseman batted .179 in a playoff run that immediately followed a regular season in which his OPS dropped by 118 points.
On Tuesday, for the second of a three-game series against the A's, Freese was dropped to seventh in the batting order.
"We have to get David in a comfort zone," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and sometimes, changing the neighborhood helps."
Freese batted .283 in Spring Training, but only one of his 15 hits went for extra bases. He began the regular season batting fourth against lefties and fifth against righties, then looked primed to essentially be the everyday cleanup hitter when Josh Hamilton injured his left thumb. But the 30-year-old struck out twice in each of his last four games prior to Tuesday, with one hit and one walk in 19 plate appearances over that span.
Freese spent pregame Tuesday working with hitting coaches Dave Hansen and Paul Sorrento, searching for "a little comfort area with some of his posture that I think is going to allow his hands to work better" and drive the ball the opposite way like he traditionally has, Scioscia said.
The Angels have kept tabs on Freese to make sure that he isn't putting too much pressure on himself in his first season with his new team.
"He's very calm on the baseball field, and I think he understands that he can play better than he did last year," Scioscia said. "Coming to a new team, there might be an element of that. But I think he's very comfortable with his teammates, he's very comfortable with what his role is on the club, and hopefully he'll start to hit stride and get the big hits that he's capable of getting."