ANAHEIM -- Entering Wednesday's game with Oakland, Mark Trumbo is hitless in his last nine at-bats, including two 0-for-4 games. The Angels' rookie first baseman said moving on from an "0-for" night is becoming easier, whereas last season, when his playing time was more sporadic after being called up on Sept. 6, he found himself pressing more.
"Now it's more about the process," said Trumbo, 25. "If I go up and I don't have a very good approach that night and I don't compete like I know would have liked to, that's probably when the '0-fors' are a little harder to stomach."
Everything might be a little easier to stomach when Trumbo takes a look at his numbers. The Anaheim native is making an early -- but legitimate -- case as an American League Rookie of the Year candidate. He's hitting .245, but his 17 runs, 38 hits, nine doubles, and four stolen bases lead all AL rookies. Additionally, his home runs (seven), RBIs (21) and walks (11) are all third or better.
Those numbers, and this year's experience appearing in 44 of his team's 50 games, have allowed him to be more relaxed in his approach -- a stark contrast from his quest for his first Major League hit last fall. It took the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder 15 big league at-bats to connect.
Trumbo tagged Texas reliever Mark Lowe for a two-run single in the ninth inning on Oct. 3, 2010, the Angels' season finale.
"If I had done it a little sooner, maybe I could have relaxed a little more and just played my game [last year]," he said. "Up until you get that first one [hit], you're going to be anxious and you're going to want to do too much sometimes."
With a slightly more seasoned perspective, Trumbo is better equipped to shed memories of hitless at-bats. His best trip to the plate across his current mini-slump was an eight-pitch duel with the Athletics' Josh Outman Monday. He recorded a foul tip, took a ball, and then fouled off five straight before grounding into a double play.
"I wasn't happy with the result, but I gave him a good battle," Trumbo said. "Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to him. He made a good pitch. He got me to do what he was trying to get me to do. But who's to say the next time I face him things aren't different and go more in my favor?"