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Matthews adjusting well to new spot

Matthews adjusting well to new spot

PHOENIX -- Gary Matthews Jr. appears to be settling comfortably into his role as the Angels' No. 2 hitter between Chone Figgins and Vladimir Guerrero.

Matthews continued to wield a hot bat on Wednesday in Phoenix Municipal Stadium with four singles, giving him six hits in seven at-bats in the past two games and lifting his Cactus League average to .415 in 41 at-bats. The only time he's been retired came on Tuesday, when he drove a ball to the wall in center field that the Brewers' Tony Gwynn reached with a great break in Tempe, Ariz.

"I thought that ball was out of the park," Matthews said. "I've been feeling pretty good up there."

Guerrero followed Matthews' fourth hit against the A's, in the seventh inning against reliever Keith Foulke, with a grand slam to left after getting knocked down by a high, hard one.

Matthews dropped a bunt single his first at-bat, stole his third base of the spring after his second hit and drove in a run with his third hit to left-center in the fifth for the first run against A's starter Rich Harden.

"Gary's doing a good job, playing baseball," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's in an important spot in the lineup, between Vlad and Fig. He's been having a great spring. The last couple games, he's really swinging well."

Matthews has not pushed it this spring in his recovery from left knee tendinitis. After serving as the designated hitter primarily in early Cactus League games, he's been playing all three outfield spots in his new role, and he was in center field on Wednesday with Torii Hunter in the DH role.

Matthews has handled himself capably at all three positions, making one sensational catch in the gap while playing left.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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