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OC Register: Angels give David Fletcher a try at leadoff spot

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SEATTLE — David Fletcher got his shot at leadoff on Tuesday night.

Whether it becomes a regular thing going forward remains to be seen.

The rookie infielder from Cypress High and Loyola Marymount was hitting first for the first time in his month-long major league career, a testament to his .324 average and .375 on-base percentage through his first 40 plate appearances. He’d also struck out just four times.

“I think he’s seeing pitches and putting the ball in play,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “If he can continue to do that, we feel the on-base will follow.”

Scioscia was noncommittal when asked if this could be a regular plan.

“Right now we think it’s a good spot for Fletch to lead off, and we’ll see how we progress from there,” Scioscia said.

With Shohei Ohtani back, and likely starting most games at designated hitter, that means Albert Pujols would start at first and either Luis Valbuena or Fletcher at third. The Angels faced a lefty on Tuesday night, so neither Valbuena nor Kole Calhoun – who hit leadoff over the weekend – were in the starting lineup. The Angels face a righty on Wednesday, followed by another lefty Thursday.


In addition to activating Ohtani on Tuesday, the Angels sent down pitchers Deck McGuire and Eduardo Paredes and brought up reliever Miguel Almonte.

Almonte was claimed on waivers from the Kansas City Royals in April, but then was out with a shoulder injury for most of the past three months. He gave up two runs in 5-1/3 innings at Triple-A Salt Lake City.

Almonte, 25, had appeared in 11 games in 2015 and 2017 with the Royals.

“He’s got a nice power arm,” Scioscia said. “He hasn’t had a real long look in the major leagues, but we’re all excited to see how his arm is going to play.”

Almonte would be the 29th pitcher to appear this season for the Angels after his first game. Last year the team used a club record 31.


Scioscia said Garrett Richards was “good” after his bullpen session on Monday, but the Angels still did not immediately announce him as the starter for Wednesday’s game. …

Tyler Skaggs threw a bullpen session on Tuesday without issue. Skaggs, who left his last start after five innings because of exhaustion in the extreme heat, is scheduled to start on Thursday. …

Kenta Maeda is lined up to start for the Dodgers on Friday at Angel Stadium, setting a matchup with Ohtani that will certainly be watched closely by fans in Japan. Ohtani struck out twice and walked against Masahiro Tanaka in May.


Angels (TBA) at Mariners (Mike Leake, 8-4, 4.01), Wednesday, 1 p.m., Fox Sports West, KLAA (830 AM)

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