Ron Washington Reveals Why Angels' Hottest Hitters Aren't Moving Up in Lineup

Robert Edwards-USA TODAY Sports
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Los Angeles Angels manager Ron Washington has a reason for almost every move he makes — except for when it comes to finding a cleanup hitter. Early in the season, Washington wrote the hitters' names on slips of paper and tossed them onto the bed in his Cleveland hotel room, looking for a cleanup hitter.

The paper he picked up had Willie Calhoun's name on it.

Washington has been tasked with finding a winning lineup full of young players who aren't comfortable batting anywhere above fifth. When their names appear higher, they freak out.

“I tried putting (Jo) Adell in the top of the lineup and it lasted a day,” Washington said. “I tried putting (Zach) Neto in the top of the lineup and it lasted two days. I’m not going to take (Logan) O’Hoppe and put him fourth. I’ll hit him fifth or sixth, but for some reason, when you put one of them in those spots, they think they’ve got to be special. And they don’t. They really don’t. They’ve just got to be who they are. If you can give us base hits there, I’ll take it. You can give us doubles there. I’ll take it. I’m not looking for home runs, because I don’t have that kind of team.”

injuries to Mike Trout, Anthony Rendon, Brandon Drury, and Miguel Sanó have put Washington in this situation. Drury — whose trip to the injured list led the manager to toss the papers onto his bed — only returned this week.

For now, Washington will continue letting his young hitters develop at the bottom of the order, minus Schanuel who has been at the top for the majority of the season. That is where they are the most comfortable and can do the most damage.

Maren Angus-Coombs