Angels proving to be masters of the pickoff

Angels proving to be masters of the pickoff

PITTSBURGH -- The Angels are far and away the best team in the game in one aspect this season: pickoffs.

When setup man Joe Smith caught Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen leaning in the eighth inning of Saturday's 8-7 loss, it gave the Angels their Major League-leading 15th pickoff this season.

No other team has produced more than eight, and the Angels had only 16 all of last season, a mark that ended up tied for fourth.

The record is 39, set by the 1992 Braves -- and the 2016 Angels are on pace for 44.

Nick Tropeano, a right-hander, is tied for the Major League lead with four. Hector Santiago, a lefty, entered Sunday's start with three. Three other righties -- Jered Weaver, Mike Morin and Smith -- have two each.

Worth noting

• Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons will start a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday and could be activated as soon as this coming weekend. Simmons was initially expected to be out until late June or early July after undergoing surgery on his left thumb.

• Angels first-base coach Gary DiSarcina returned to the team on Sunday, after spending the last two days attending his son's high school graduation in Massachusetts. Infield coach Alfredo Griffin, the Angels' first-base coach the last 16 years, filled in for DiSarcina on Friday and Saturday.

Chris Jones was moved up to start Sunday for Triple-A Salt Lake, ruling him out for Tuesday, a vacant spot in the rotation because of Tropeano's shoulder injury. Kyle Kendrick, currently slated to start Monday, could take the ball that day, or the Angels could have a bullpen game.

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