Angels recall Krauss, designate Mattheus

Angels recall Krauss, designate Mattheus

ANAHEIM -- First baseman/outfielder Marc Krauss was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday, mainly because the Angels wanted to return to the traditional four-man bench and because Efren Navarro was sent down too recently to be called back up.

But Krauss has also been on a tear, riding a 10-game hitting streak in which he's batted .444. He profiles as the left-handed power hitter this Angels offense so desperately needs. He could get plenty of chances against right-handed pitching at first base, designated hitter or perhaps even left field.

He could be here a while.

"There is some opportunity," Krauss said. "That's the way I'm looking at it, at least."

Krauss' callup meant the Angels had to designate veteran reliever Ryan Mattheus for assignment. Mattheus was called up four days ago, a move that sent Navarro back to Triple-A, because the Angels needed an extra bullpen arm. He can elect free agency even if he clears waivers, so chances are the Angels may have lost Mattheus entirely.

If Krauss can give their ailing offense some pop, it might be worth it.

Krauss, listed at 6-foot-2 and 245 pounds, has a .478 career slugging percentage in the Minor Leagues, with 80 home runs and a .376 on-base percentage in 576 games. But he hit an underwhelming .197/.277/.336 in 329 plate appearances against righties with the Astros the last two years.

The Angels -- with a collective .608 OPS against righties, second-lowest in the Majors -- are hoping some of Krauss' Minor League numbers translate.

"We need offense," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who started Krauss at first base on Tuesday, batting him ninth, and may also play him against Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles on Wednesday.

"The balance of left-handed and right-handed isn't quite there with us, and it's showing up statistically. It's only a sixth of the season, but it's there. It's something we're going to try to address."

Krauss, 27, was selected off waivers in December and looked like the favorite to win the final bench spot coming out of Spring Training. With Josh Hamilton's situation so uncertain, the Angels wanted Krauss' plate discipline and power off the bench. But then he hurt his back, played only sparingly towards the end of March and ultimately lost the job to Navarro, a left-handed bat with less power.

"I'm not going to put any extra pressure on myself," said Krauss, who has experience at both corner-outfield spots but has mainly been used at first base this year. "I just want to put up some good at-bats and help the team win. I think if you do that, you can stick around. That's my plan."

Worth noting

Albert Pujols made his sixth start at DH and fourth since suffering a tight left hamstring on April 29, but Scioscia said Pujols is fine. The Angels just wanted to couple the Monday off-day with another day where Pujols didn't have to play first base.

• The Angels will keep their rotation in order, despite having two off days in one week. That means Jered Weaver, Matt Shoemaker and C.J. Wilson will start the weekend series in Baltimore -- in that order. They'll all be on six days' rest.

• Several members of the Anaheim Ducks stopped by the Angels clubhouse after their 5-2 win over the Rockies on Tuesday. A few Angels players -- including Mike Trout, Kole Calhoun, David Freese, Garrett Richards, Hector Santiago and Shoemaker -- watched as the Ducks beat the Calgary Flames to advance to the Western Conference Finals on Sunday.

• The Angels installed humidors at Triple-A Salt Lake at the start of the season in hopes of making it less of a hitters' park and allowing the organization to get a better gauge of its prospects. And Krauss has noticed the difference.

"I would say it's kind of tempered down the offense a little bit," Krauss said. "Even just talking with pitching coach Erik Bennett, who's been in Salt Lake five or six years now, he noticed. He could tell right away that it was a little different coming off the bat. The ball was not carrying as well as it did."

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