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Calhoun gets time off to get right

Right fielder has not met expectations to start season; Middleton set for rehab appearance Tuesday; Ohtani may pitch Sunday
Special to MLB.com

DENVER -- Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun missed his third consecutive start Tuesday after missing only three starts previously in the season, none of which were back to back, and until Sunday, none of which came against a right-handed pitcher.

After starting the season slashing .167/.195/.211 through his first 29 games, manager Mike Scioscia is giving Calhoun a break to try and get things right.

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DENVER -- Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun missed his third consecutive start Tuesday after missing only three starts previously in the season, none of which were back to back, and until Sunday, none of which came against a right-handed pitcher.

After starting the season slashing .167/.195/.211 through his first 29 games, manager Mike Scioscia is giving Calhoun a break to try and get things right.

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"It's tough," Calhoun said of his 6-for-63 (.095) slump. "Every day is a new day. You can't change the past, but going forward we have the opportunity to have some at-bats."

The Angels brought Jabari Blash up from Triple-A Salt Lake City Sunday to give them some depth while Calhoun works on his swing.

"All of us feel this way -- I know Kole feels this way -- that eventually he's getting back to where he needs to be," Scioscia said before the opening of the two-game set in Colorado on Tuesday. "This is just one little step -- take a half-step back, regroup, to get further ahead on a little quicker pace. He worked out earlier today, he feels great, he looked great. We'll see when he gets back out there."

Video: LAA@HOU: Calhoun grounds an RBI single to right field

Over the weekend, Scioscia said that Calhoun was working on some mechanics, but Calhoun downplayed the idea that he was doing any significant tinkering.

"You're always working on mechanics, every single day," Calhoun said. "Nothing too crazy."

A career .261 hitter over parts of six big league seasons heading into 2018, with 63 home runs over his last three seasons, Calhoun is 19-for-114 with four walks and 33 strikeouts on the season, with one triple and one homer accounting for his extra-base hits.

"We're trying to work on getting back to line drives," Calhoun said. "Not necessarily getting the ball in the air, but backspin and stuff, try to find some holes. My focus is on trying to help this team win any way that I can."

Medical tent
Closer Keynan Middleton was sent on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake City on Tuesday after going on the disabled list Wednesday (retroactive to April 29) with right elbow inflammation.

"We'll see how he comes out of tonight," Scioscia said of Middleton, who is expected to pitch for the Bees Tuesday.

Video: SF@LAA: Middleton retires Panik and gets the save

Middleton has notched six saves in 13 games this season, posting a 2.40 ERA in 15 innings.

In other rehab news, Matt Shoemaker (on the DL since April 3 with a right forearm strain) and Blake Wood (on the DL since April 24 with elbow posterior impingement) are both progressing.

"They're still moving along, but we don't have any endpoint with them yet, as far as when they'll be ready," Scioscia said. "I'm not sure if Woody's on the mound yet. He's close to that progression. I think he's day to day as far as when he gets on the mound."

Reservation for Sunday
Scioscia is not sure when Shohei Ohtani will pitch again, but pencil in Sunday as a possibility. Ohtani is available to pinch-hit and pinch-run as needed in the Rockies' National League park this week, and he was peppering the third deck at Coors Field with towering shots during batting practice Tuesday.

"We'll see how he comes out of it," Scioscia said of Ohtani's six-plus innings of two-run ball Sunday.

Video: LAA@SEA: Ohtani limits Mariners to 2 runs over 6-plus

"He looks good. We'll look at some things this weekend. We'll look at Sunday, but we'll reserve the right to adjust down from that if something comes up."

On deck
Jaime Barria will start the finale of the two-game set in Colorado on Wednesday at 12:10 p.m. PT. It will be Barria's fourth start of the season, but it's the first time he's stayed with the team for consecutive starts, as his previous three have all been spot-start callups.

"What happens between starts with a pitcher in the Major Leagues, especially a young pitcher, is very important," Scioscia said of the value of Barria spending time with the team between starts. "That's the flow you want to get. Sometimes it's not possible, and it really hasn't been possible this year with some of the things in our rotation. It's good to experience the game, watch other hitters, watch your pitchers, and understand what you need to do when you get out there."

Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com based in Denver.

Los Angeles Angels, Kole Calhoun