The void at catcher

June, 3, 2012
6/03/12
12:03
PM PT
It's not often a team is dying to get a .197 hitter back in the fold, but the absence of catcher Chris Iannetta has left a major hole in the bottom of the Angels' lineup.

Since Iannetta went on the disabled May 9, the Angels are still waiting for an RBI -- one RBI! -- from a catcher. Bobby Wilson is an above-average defender and John Hester has done fine since being recalled, but they have collectively batted .186 in Iannetta's absence. Wilson was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday night.

The lack of production from the catcher's spot in the order is part of the reason virtually all of the Angels' offense lately has been generated in the top half of the order, often around Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo.

Iannetta is progressing in his rehab from a broken wrist, having been cleared to long toss and to do plate-blocking drills. Manager Mike Scioscia said he would be surprised if Iannetta doesn't return within the next two weeks.

"Even though his average wasn't that high, he was getting on base and there was definitely a threat in the bottom of the lineup," Scioscia said. "So, any time you can get a guy who has that kind of power and ability to get on base back in your lineup it makes you deeper and we'll welcome that back."

* Also, on Sunday Mike Trout was named the American League rookie of the month for May, when he batted .324 with six doubles, three triples and five home runs.

Here are lineups for Sunday's series finale, the Angels going for a three-game sweep behind Dan Haren:

Texas
Ian Kinsler 2B
Elvis Andrus SS
Josh Hamilton CF
Adrian Beltre 3B
Michael Young DH
Nelson Cruz RF
David Murphy LF
Mike Napoli C
Mitch Moreland 1B

Angels
Mike Trout LF
Alberto Callaspo 3B
Albert Pujols 1B
Mark Trumbo RF
Torii Hunter DH
Howie Kendrick 2B
Erick Aybar SS
Peter Bourjos CF
John Hester C

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
C.J. Wilson
WINS ERA SO IP
2 4.21 28 25
OTHER LEADERS
BAM. Trout .307
HRA. Pujols 6
RBIA. Pujols 14
RM. Trout 14
OPSM. Trout .987
ERAG. Richards 2.84
SOC. Wilson 28