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Angels Notes: No rest for Martin Maldonado behind the plate


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SEATTLE — Martin Maldonado caught his 100th game of the season on Saturday night, most in the major leagues and an ongoing career high.

And on Sunday, a day game after a night game, he was in the Angels lineup again, for No. 101.

While Manager Mike Scioscia, a former catcher, is sensitive to protecting his catchers from an excessive workload, he seems comfortable that Maldonado can handle it.

“He’s still locked in to every pitch behind the plate, calling a great game,” Scioscia said. “He’s still doing a great job with the running game. There’s a little sacrifice with the bat. When there’s a little sacrifice with the bat, the biggest piece of the puzzle that Martin brings for us is what he does behind the plate, and he’s been as good as any catcher in baseball.”

Maldonado conceded that catching so much leads to “some days you feel your bat is slow.” His average has dropped steadily. Even with five hits in the past three games, including a critical two-out, two-run single on Sunday, Maldonado is hitting .179 in the second half.

He is still getting defensive praise from Scioscia and his pitchers, and he’s still throwing out runners at a 41 percent clip, including one on Saturday night.

“The only reason I’m here is to catch,” Maldonado said, “so that’s what I’m worried about.”

PLAN FOR HEANEY

A day after Andrew Heaney gave up one run in seven innings over 94 pitches at Triple-A, Scioscia said they’ll take a couple days to determine his next step.

“He pitched really well,” Scioscia said on Sunday.

It is likely that Heaney’s next outing will be in the majors. He has pitched six times in the minors, including three at Triple-A, with a combined 2.60 ERA. The next game that Heaney could pitch for the Angels would be Friday, in Baltimore.

When Heaney returns, it would be a boost for the Angels. He was not expected to pitch in the majors at all in 2017, after undergoing Tommy John surgery on July 1, 2016.

ALSO

Cliff Pennington got the start at second over Kaleb Cowart on Sunday. Cowart has started 13 of 18 games since he was recalled last month, although it’s been only six of the past 11. Scioscia still said he expects Cowart to get “the lion’s share” of the starts at second. Cowart also had one hit in his previous 19 at-bats…

The last time the Angels swept a four-game series against the Mariners was May 24-27, 2012…

Scioscia said Albert Pujols will play one of the two games at first base in Washington, where the Angels will not be able to use the DH…

Angels players were set to wear NBA jerseys for their postgame flight to Washington, the second straight flight they have gone with that theme.

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