There is just something about April that brings out the worst in Tim Salmon.
The veteran outfielder will try to get his swing in order when the Angels go for a split of their four-game series with the Texas Rangers.
Salmon is batting just .130 (3-for-23) through the first six games, with a .231 on-base percentage and no homers.
A lifetime .283 hitter with 288 home runs and 967 RBIs, Salmon has been a slow starter throughout his 13-year career, batting .261 in April. In 2002, he hit .183 in April before rebounding to finish the season at .285.
Yet despite his past failures, Salmon did not expect to get off to this poor a start in 2004.
“Fortunately, we’ve been winning,” Salmon said. “You try to go up there and contribute the best you can, but it hasn’t exactly been fun for me. Coming out of spring, I’m just trying to get up there and get relaxed and make good passes at good pitches. I’ve been battling that for the past few weeks.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn’t concerned.
“I think it’s not unusual for what’s happened throughout his career,” Scioscia said of Salmon. “He’s not a guy who usually blasts out of the gate. He needs at-bats to get his rhythm and he’ll find it.”
Salmon, who is now a full-time DH after years of playing right field, may already be on his way as he went 2-for-3 during Sunday’s 7-2 win over the Rangers with his first RBI of the season.
“This early in the year, you’re thinking more about your swing and trying to figure it out,” said Salmon, who hit .306 in the spring. “It’s never easy. It’s always frustrating.”
Not exactly known for their pitching, the Rangers have been one of the league’s early surprise stories this season. Opponents are hitting just .246 and have a .297 on-base percentage against Texas, while the Rangers have a solid 3.98 team ERA with just 13 walks issued in 52 innings.
The Rangers’ bullpen, which had a 4.88 ERA last season, has allowed just three earned runs in seven innings.