Anderson staying hot in the DH spot
Outfielder stays fresh, healthy, productive in sizzling month
NEW YORK -- In batting practice before Friday night's game against the Yankees, with Reggie Jackson standing in the background alongside Angels PR maven Tim Mead, Garret Anderson launched an upper-deck drive, into the right-field seats of Yankee Stadium.
Told that it was decidedly Reggie-esque, the modest Anderson grinned and shook his head.
In July, heating up with the weather as usually happens, the greatest offensive performer in Angels history had numbers Mr. October would have been thrilled to call his own.
Riding an eight-game hitting streak with back-to-back four-hit efforts, Anderson finished July batting .384 with a sizzling 14-for-27 (.519) on a challenging road trip through Baltimore, Boston and the Bronx.
"The hand speed is there -- that's never a concern," Anderson said. "It's just a matter of getting everything else in tune, getting the timing and rhythm of my swing down. Things are working better lately, and I've been getting some hits."
Among his most impressive numbers are a .349 season average with runners in scoring position and 22 RBIs in his past 23 games. With two outs and runners on second and/or third, he's batting .372.
Anderson never has enjoyed serving in the designated hitter role, but he acknowledged that his team-high 37th appearance on Friday night in that role has served the purpose of helping keep him healthy and productive.
"DH'ing has helped me this year," he said. "I'm fresher than I'd be playing every day [in left field]. I can say that, truthfully."
That was manager Mike Scioscia's plan in dividing the role among his outfielders: Anderson, Vladimir Guerrero (29 DH starts), Torii Hunter (seven), Gary Matthews Jr. (13), Juan Rivera (12) and Reggie Willits (two).
"One thing we've seen is guys getting more accustomed to the DH role," Scioscia said. "These guys are two-way players, but the bottom line is you need more production [out of the DH], and it's good to see them swing the bats well."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.