Soto finding comfort zone in batter's box

Angels catcher says at-bats remind him of Rookie of the Year season

Soto finding comfort zone in batter's box

ARLINGTON -- Angels catcher Geovany Soto said he hasn't felt this comfortable in the batter's box "since my rookie year," which is notable, because Soto won the National League Rookie of the Year Award by batting .285/.364/.504 with the Cubs in 2008.

"I feel great," Soto said. "I'm seeing the ball really well."

Soto batted .231/.321/.411 in the seven seasons that followed his rookie season, but he posted a 1.018 OPS throughout Spring Training and has continued to swing the bat well during the regular season, going 9-for-27 with a couple of home runs.

Soto has only started a third of the games, but the Angels' other catcher, Carlos Perez, entered Saturday batting .160/.222/.180. The 33-year-old Soto will earn more playing time if that trend continues.

"I guess I haven't done a whole lot different with my swing," Soto said, "but I've really beared down and really concentrated on my offensive work. I've really, really hammered that pretty hard this year."

Worth noting

• Right-handed-hitting outfielder Craig Gentry was supposed to start Saturday, but was kept out of the lineup because of stiffness in his back. Angels manager Mike Scioscia wasn't certain if the ailment would force Gentry onto the disabled list.

Daniel Nava, on the DL with tendinitis in his left knee, is still on track to begin a Minor League rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday. If that goes well, he could return by Friday, when the team returns from this road trip.

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.