'Frustrated' Joyce trying to find his way at the plate

'Frustrated' Joyce trying to find his way at the plate

ANAHEIM -- Matt Joyce saw a reporter approaching on Thursday afternoon and all of a sudden got a little leery.

"What do you want to talk about, football?" Joyce said, somewhat playfully. "I think the Bucs are going to draft Jameis Winston."

Anything was better than the subject of Joyce's offense, which remained nonexistent nearly three weeks into his Angels career, but the left-handed-hitting outfielder obliged nonetheless.

Asked how he's feeling at the plate, Joyce reeled off a 240-word answer that touched on chasing too much, being robbed of a few hits, trying too hard, staying persistent, the overall dominance of pitchers and five words that put it all in perspective.

"Hey," Joyce concluded, "it's a long season."

And it's early; early enough that Joyce entered Thursday as one of five Angels everyday players batting below .200, along with Albert Pujols, Collin Cowgill, C.J. Cron and Chris Iannetta. Joyce had seven hits, 13 strikeouts and no home runs through his first 46 at-bats. He entered the season as the cleanup hitter against righties and a potential starter against lefties, but he's been dropped to sixth against righties and is hardly playing against lefties.

"I've definitely been frustrated," he said, "but at the same time, I know I can do it, I know I deserve to be here. It's just a matter of time."

Joyce said some borderline pitches were called strikes against him, and he believes that "got me in a mind-set that I had to swing at pitches outside the zone." So far he's swung at 24.2 percent of pitches outside the strike zone, a relatively good rate but still his highest in four years.

"He's going the other way right now," manager Mike Scioscia said of Joyce, who ended Spring Training with a .326/.385/.543 slash line but has been unable to translate that to the regular season.

"Sometimes all it takes is just one pitch, one thing to go your way and get you rolling," Joyce said. "I think the pitchers nowadays are extremely tough, and it's not an easy game. I think if you look back in a month, it'll probably be a completely different situation."

Worth noting:
• Vladimir Guerrero was in the Angels' clubhouse on Thursday and will take part in an on-field ceremony prior to Saturday's game, along with the franchise's two other American League MVP Award winners, Don Baylor and Mike Trout. Trout will receive his Silver Slugger and Players Choice Awards on Friday and his MVP trophy on Saturday.

• Scioscia said C.J. Wilson's left elbow "got a little stiff between starts," but added the elbow is "fine" and that Wilson could have taken his normal turn on Thursday if needed. The Angels announced on Wednesday that Wilson, who was wearing a sleeve on his left arm, would be pushed back from Thursday to Saturday, which was partly a reaction to Matt Shoemaker being placed on the bereavement list.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.