By Joe Haakenson, AngelsWin.com Contributor -
APRIL 15, 2002
OFF DAY - NOTEBOOK
ANAHEIM -- There is one Angel hitter who is not off to a slow start -- leadoff hitter David Eckstein. Going into Tuesday’s game against the Rangers, Eckstein is hitting .340 and has an on-base percentage of .373.
Eckstein already has had six games with at least two hits, including three games with three hits. He's also been the Angels' best clutch hitter, batting .500 (5 for 10) with runners in scoring position.
''We need that piece of the puzzle that we get with Eck,'' Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. ''He's feeling more confident in his position and his role every day.''
Eckstein is a natural second baseman, but has made all the routine plays and a few spectacular plays early in the season at shortstop.
Al Levine is hoping his days as the Angels' closer will soon be over, because that would mean regular closer Troy Percival is healthy again.
Percival, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, will likely throw a simulated game Tuesday, then possibly make a rehab appearance on Thursday. That would set him up for a return to the active roster on Saturday.
Levine, though, has been solid in Percival's absence, going three for three in save opportunities.