Butcher likes new look for Kazmir
Angels left-hander implements old-school windup
ANAHEIM -- Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher was impressed with the way Scott Kazmir brought his new delivery into his most recent start against the Tigers, shutting them out for five innings before he was charged with two earned runs after departing after getting two outs in the sixth.
"He did that on his own," Butcher said, referring to the old-school windup Kazmir developed, bringing his arms behind his head before uncoiling, getting more deception in the process. "I really liked it. I thought he had more energy on the mound, more life."
Kazmir, who faces the Yankees' Javier Vazquez in Sunday's series finale, had always gone with the more conventional delivery, starting with his hands in front of his chest. He began working on the new windup in an effort to create more rhythm.
"I hope I remember what I did," he said, grinning. "I liked the feel of it, and hopefully it will work for me."
This is a game of constant adjustments, sometimes planned, sometimes spontaneous. High on Kazmir's agenda is relocating a missing friend: his hard-biting slider, which has not behaved as well as he'd like for several seasons. He couldn't find it when the Yanks banged him around for six runs in four innings in his season debut April 15 in New York.
"When he's on, you better hit his fastball," the Yankees' Nick Swisher said, "because you're not going to hit that other stuff. Scotty's a great pickup for those guys."
Ankle X-rays inconclusive on Halos' Wilson
ANAHEIM -- X-rays of Angels catcher Bobby Wilson's left ankle, injured in a collision with the Yankees' Mark Teixeira on Friday night, were inconclusive owing to swelling in the ankle, according to team orthopedist, Dr. Lewis Yocum.
Wilson, who suffered a concussion when he was leveled by Teixeira's shoulder in a violent collision in the third inning, will be re-evaluated in 48 hours with an MRI expected on Monday.
"I can't give him a time frame [for his return]," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I would imagine after the DL [time expires] if everything else is healed up. He should be OK."
The Angels replaced Wilson, who was making his first Major League start, on the 25-man roster with his good buddy Ryan Budde. A powerfully constructed native of Midwest City, Okla., Budde has appeared in 23 games across parts of three seasons with the Angels and has shared the catching duties at Triple-A Salt Lake the past few seasons with Wilson.
Budde is "real good defensively," according to Scioscia, and will serve as Mike Napoli's backup. Jeff Mathis, off to a superlative start offensively and defensively, is out four to eight weeks with a fractured right wrist suffered on Monday night against the Tigers.
Budde's big moment in the big leagues came against the Yankees in 2007 when he delivered a walk-off double in the 11th inning on Aug. 20, his first career RBI. He's 3-for-23 (.130) in limited appearances with the Angels and was batting .333 at Salt Lake in five games, backing up promising Hank Conger.
Hunter has mixed emotions about hit
ANAHEIM -- Torii Hunter comes from a football background, having been a successful high-school quarterback in Pine Bluff, Ark., before he was a first-round pick by the Twins, who signed him at age 17 in 1993.
Given his history of hitting and being hit, and being aware of the nature of the game, he understood former teammate Mark Teixeira's competitive instincts in driving a shoulder into Angels catcher Bobby Wilson in the third inning Friday night while scoring. Wilson left the game with a left ankle injury and concussion and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
"First of all, it hurts because Bobby is the nicest guy on our team," Hunter said. "Everyone feels really bad for him. He finally gets to start a game, the first time in his [Major League] career, and this happens. He was vulnerable the way he was trying to handle a throw [from Bobby Abreu] that took a bad hop and hit him in the mask.
"You can say it was clean, or you can't say it's not. That's baseball. I played football, and I kind of love it. Coming around third, especially if I'm [upset], that's going to happen. It's part of the game. The unfortunate part is that Bobby wasn't able to set himself and protect himself from the contact."
Abreu breaking out of early funk
ANAHEIM -- Emerging from an early funk in the batter's box, Bobby Abreu is back to hammering balls for the Angels.
"When I'm driving the ball to the middle of the field like I am now," Abreu said, "I know I'm staying back and on it. Earlier, balls I'm hitting to center and the gaps, I was rolling over and hitting on the ground to second base. It's just finding my rhythm and timing. I knew it would come."
Abreu has produced nine total bases in the past two games, against the Tigers and Yankees, to become one of 14 active players with at least 3,500 total bases. He's 10 doubles away from 500, a summit occupied by only five active players, including former Angels outfielder Garret Anderson.
He's 7-for-18 on the homestand, raising his average to .271.
Kendry Morales, whose two-run homer was the difference Friday night, is emerging as a Yankees killer. He's batting .377 in his career against New York in 53 at-bats and is hitting .463 with five homers and 12 RBIs in his past 12 regular-season games against manager Joe Girardi's pitching staff. Morales is 9-for-17 on the homestand with two homers and seven RBIs. ... Hitless on Friday night, Howard Kendrick dipped below .400 for his career against the Yankees but remains at the top of the list of opponents with at least 100 plate appearances against New York since 1952 at .395. Dick Stuart (.380) and Ted Williams (.373) are next. ... With Friday night's victory, the Angels matched their April win total from 2009 (nine) with four games left in the month. ... At Triple-A Salt Lake, Trevor Reckling had another strong effort, yielding one earned run in 5 2/3 innings against Las Vegas to move to 2-0. Mark Trumbo clubbed his team-high fifth homer in going 2-for-4 with three RBIs, and Terry Evans continued to sizzle with two hits. The talented outfielder is batting .480 in seven games since he was assigned to Salt Lake.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.