Torrid May solidifies Trumbo in middle of lineup

Torrid May solidifies Trumbo in middle of lineup

Torrid May solidifies Trumbo in middle of lineup
ANAHEIM -- The month of May had to end sooner or later.

Mark Trumbo certainly wished it hadn't.

May did a lot for the Angels slugger. It saw Trumbo hit .367 with a 1.077 OPS, solidified his place in the middle of manager Mike Scioscia's lineup on a daily basis -- no matter where he plays -- and showed how much more advanced as a hitter he's become since finishing second in American League Rookie of the Year voting in 2011.

Bouncing around as much as Trumbo has -- from third to first to left to right -- can mess with a player offensively, especially a 26-year-old one. But Trumbo has become an even better hitter in the process.

"I may be using the whole field a little bit better than I did last year and having better two-strike at-bats," said Trumbo, who ended May by homering in four consecutive games. "Last year there were times when I may have been a little overly aggressive. This year, I've done a little better job of pulling back the reins when things could've easily gone in the other direction pretty quick."

Trumbo has swung at 37.5 percent of pitches outside the strike zone this year, compared with 42.7 percent last year, and has shown a knack for hitting more balls to right field -- like the 433-foot home run he hit in that direction on Wednesday.

Now, as June begins and the slugging Rangers are in town, Trumbo leads the Angels in batting average (.348) and homers (10) and is second to Albert Pujols in RBIs (26).

A big reason for his growth as a hitter, Trumbo believes, is being more familiar with the pitchers he faces.

"For me, the majority of it is having knowledge of what the guy throws," he said. "Last year, seeing guys for the first time, you're going to take your lumps sometimes."

With Vernon Wells (thumb surgery) out until at least late July and Torii Hunter back with the team, the majority of Trumbo's playing time will come in left field, with the third-base experiment on the shelf for the foreseeable future.

Regardless of where he plays, though, Trumbo needs to be in the lineup on an everyday basis.

The month of May solidified that.

"He's been our most consistent offensive player since the beginning of the season," Scioscia said. "I think when you start to put the components together of what we expect from our team, you see Mark doing what his potential is, that gives us a lot of confidence moving forward that our lineup is going to get deep."