Angels make roster moves, hold team meeting

The Angels hold a team meeting and make some roster changes prior to a series against the Phillies.

ANAHEIM , Calif. — After starting the home stand with a 1-5 record, the Angels made their first roster moves of the season on Monday that didn’t involve an injury.

Veteran outfielder Aaron Hicks was designated for assignment after a slow start to the season. The Angels also recalled relief pitcher Davis Daniel to add a fresh arm to the bullpen.

Hicks, 34, was batting .140 with one home run and five RBIS. In 68 plate appearances he had an OPS plus of 20; league average is 100.

“We just felt we needed to start making some changes,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “I love Aaron Hicks and I appreciate what he did for the time he was here, but the only thing I can say about that is that it was time to move on.

“We’re not trying to give a message to anyone that if you don’t do this, and if you don’t do that, you won’t be here. But if they don’t do this, and they don’t do that, then they won’t be here.”

Zac Kristofak, who made his major-league debut Sunday, was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. The Angels selected the contract of utility player Cole Tucker.

Tucker spent spring training with the Seattle Mariners. As camp broke, he was told there would not be a roster spot for him and was offered a coaching position with the team.

He worked out in Arizona and waited for an opportunity. He spent the last couple of weeks with the Salt Lake Bees and had an OPS of .908 in 10 games.

“I’m happy to be here; I feel very grateful,” Tucker said. “It’s not my first time being called up so the whatever number of time it’s been. It hits different for sure.”

Washington added: “He was playing very well. He’s got speed. He can play the whole outfield, the whole infield so that gives us some versatility, especially with (Miguel) Sano limping around a little bit. So we get some versatility and he is a pretty good ball player.”

Tucker was the designated hitter in Monday’s series opener against the Phillies. He met with Washington on Monday to discuss his role with the team.

“He just mentioned bouncing me around the infield,” Tucker said. “Whatever they need. … I’m here for it.”

Better than that

Washington held a team meeting Sunday after the Angels suffered a sweep at the hands of the Twins. It was the first publicized team meeting since the opening series in Baltimore. The Angels won four in a row after that meeting.

“It was something that needed to happen,” Washington said. “We weren’t being ourselves and I certainly wanted them to understand that we aren’t ourselves and it’s time for us to get back to being ourselves.

“We understand that we may not have the talent and the personnel that other teams have, but we do have talent and personnel that can handle the game of baseball better than we handled it over the weekend. That was the message.”

Adell moving up in order

The Angels have experimented with multiple players in the second spot in the batting order since the injury to Anthony Rendon. Jo Adell has been swinging a hot bat recently and it’s his turn to hit in the second spot behind Mike Trout.

“He’s swinging the bat pretty good right now and I’d like to get on the board early,” Washington said. “I’m hoping that by me moving him up to second place doesn’t change anything in the way he’s swinging the bat. Our first four guys might be able to get us on the board early.

“I’m searching to find out how I can put something together where we can score some runs and it might backfire. But I’ve got to try something.”

Adell is batting .400 during his last 11 games with six runs, two doubles, two home runs, seven RBIs and two stolen bases.

His strikeout rate is at 23.6 percent which is a major improvement from his rate last year (40.3 percent).

“He’s learning the strike zone better,” Washington said. “He’s also understanding that he doesn’t have to go up there always trying to hit the ball out of the ballpark.

“Now he’s using the whole field and to do that you have to be patient back here in the strike zone and he’s doing a good job of that.”

Not so sweet home

The Angels are 3-9 at home this season and Washington said the team needs to play better overall, not just at home.

“You always want to play well in front of your hometown fans, but it doesn’t matter where it is, it’s bad,” Washington said. “I just hope the fans don’t give up on us because they don’t need to be frontrunners. We are going to put some quality baseball together before it’s over with.

“Don’t leave us because you see some hiccups along the way. What they are seeing is not who we are. Once we grasp who we are, they’ll see who we are every single day. But in the game of baseball it happens.”