ANAHEIM -- Don't worry about the State Farm Home Run Derby changing Mark Trumbo's swing. He's already got the perfect stroke to bring home some hardware without any alterations."I'm a guy that cuts it loose most of the time anyway, so my goal is always to put myself in a position to drive the ball," Trumbo said. "So it's not a huge adjustment for me. I mess around every once in a while and try to launch balls. It's nothing that's terribly out of the ordinary for me." Trumbo, who won the 2009 Texas League Home Run Derby in Double-A, is part of an American League squad that includes Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, Tigers first baseman Prince Fielder and Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista.
Albert Pujols, a three-time Derby participant, campaigned to Cano that his teammate be in Monday's Derby at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. And Trumbo has already gone to Vernon Wells, a 2010 Derby contestant, and former Angels slugger Garret Anderson, the '03 Derby champion, for advice.They've told him the usual -- "Take your time, have fun, use the whole field" -- but what Trumbo most needs to avoid is the famed post-Derby slump like so many participants, excluding Anderson, have experienced. Though there are extreme cases like the Twins' Justin Morneau in 2007 (26 homers before the Derby and just seven after) and Bobby Abreu in 2005 (18 homers and a .307 average before the break and just six homers with a .260 average after), most players were at or near their home-run-per-plate-appearance pace before and after the contest. Even though 30 out of the 40 Home Run Derby participants from 2007-11 saw declines in their homers-per-at-bat totals after the All-Star break, most were minor regressions. "I think there's always a risk of that. Garrett Anderson won it and had an incredible run in the second half," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Everybody's an individual. I don't think you can say it one way or the other. It is a lot of work, the Home Run Derby, if you go the whole way." Still, Trumbo isn't concerned with a dropoff after the break. Despite the potential for more than 100 swings in the competition, Trumbo said if he wears down in the second half of the season because of a Home Run Derby, there's a problem. "I feel, as a professional athlete, it's my job to stay in shape," Trumbo said. "So if I get tired after however many swings it is, that's probably not a good sign."
Scioscia tabs Mills to close first half
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia announced on Saturday that Minor League callup Brad Mills will be the starter for Sunday's first-half finale with the Orioles.In nine starts at Triple-A Salt Lake this season, the lefty is 3-3 with a 4.47 ERA. In his 2 2/3 innings of relief in the Minors this year, Mills has given up three runs and five hits. He last pitched in the Majors with the Blue Jays in 2011. In 48 1/3 career innings stretched across three seasons in the big leagues, Mills is 2-3 with an 8.57 ERA, all coming with Toronto. Mills' most recent start with Salt Lake came on Wednesday, when he surrendered five runs on five hits and two walks in three innings. "I think Brad's a guy that has a little bit of experience," Scioscia said. "Obviously he has been pitching very well down there until there was an experiment with the bullpen and he got a little tendinitis that came back. But his stuff is back. I think he is, right now, the best candidate we have to start on Sunday." There will be a corresponding move after Saturday's game to bring up Mills.
Williams ready to hit ground running after break
ANAHEIM -- After two rehab starts in the Minor Leagues, Angels starter Jerome Williams is back with the big club.The righty went six innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits on Friday night in a rehab start at Triple-A Salt Lake. He threw 81 pitches, 52 for strikes. The 30-year-old had been on the disabled list on June 20 following a start on June 18 in which he suffered from respiratory problems, but he said he feels just fine now. "[Friday] night, I had 81 pitches, I threw the ball well," Williams said. "I feel like I can contribute. I just hope I can get back into this rotation and help the team win." Even though what he called an asthma attack was the first he has had since he was a toddler, Williams said he and the team's training staff will continue to monitor his breathing, as well as his heart rate, to make sure it doesn't happen again. "Just basically monitor that and throw, do my job and not really worry about it," Williams said. "But I still have it in the back of my mind what to do and how to prevent it." With Dan Haren on the DL with lower back tightness and Garrett Richards being sent back down to the Minors, manager Mike Scioscia said Williams will return to the rotation after the All-Star break. When exactly he pitches again is contingent on how much C.J. Wilson and Jered Weaver pitch in the All-Star Game on Tuesday. "There's definitely an if-then proposition right now," Scioscia said. "We have to see where the guys pitch, how much they pitch, how they come out of it, if they pitch on Tuesday and are able to line up for the weekend. We'll see where we are."
Joe McIntyre is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.