Mathis making positive strides on offense

Mathis making positive strides on offense

Mathis making positive strides on offense
ARLINGTON -- With two hits and a line-drive out to center on Saturday, Jeff Mathis had a confident and productive approach at the plate. Hits in five of his past six starts have his average at .203, and while nobody is especially happy with that, it suggests that he's making positive strides after a lost 2010 season with a fractured right wrist.

Some offense is nice to see, of course, but what Angels manager Mike Scioscia likes most is the way Mathis is handling a pitching staff that has been among the Majors' best. The Angels are 11-8 in his starts. They're 10-9 when Hank Conger starts and 1-1 when Bobby Wilson is behind the plate.

"There's a lot that goes into it," said Scioscia, who is clearly weary of defending how he deploys his catchers. "Jeff doesn't have his head buried in the sand; he knows he needs to hit better, and he has made adjustments and improvements. He's hitting the ball harder than his numbers show. He's probably not going to hit .300, but he shouldn't hit .200.

"Behind the plate, he's as good as there is. You can absorb some soft spots with hitters. I think we're in good shape. Hank is taking advantage of his opportunities. He's earning playing time with what he's doing on the defensive side. I think we're in good shape with our catching."