Maldonado provides stability behind the plate

Maldonado provides stability behind the plate

ANAHEIM -- The pitcher's mound has had a sort of revolving door for the Angels, but the man behind the plate has almost always remained the same.

Martin Maldonado started his 34th game at catcher on Wednesday. Juan Graterol and Carlos Perez -- the only other two who've started at the spot for the Angels this year -- have made a combined nine starts.

After spending the first six years of his career in Milwaukee as a part-time player, Maldonado has adjusted smoothly to serving in a starting role with the Angels. He's ensuring he remains a fixture in the lineup by touting a consistent bat (slashing .270/.342/.380) to go along with his defense. He's thrown out seven of 22 attempted basestealers (36 percent).

"I pride myself in catching this many games," Maldonado said.

That same pride is evident in his preparation, too, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a former All-Star catcher.

"We put together our game plan, which he's very in tune with and does a great job with," Scioscia said. "He studies our pitchers a lot, and he's really sharp back there."

As a result of injuries ravaging the Angels' pitching staff for a second straight season, the team has seen 21 pitchers toe the rubber through 42 games. The total is only bested by the Seattle Mariners, who have featured 22 pitchers.

Despite the plethora of arms, Maldonado said he's cultivated relationships with his pitchers so he can better understand them.

"We talk a lot," Maldonado said, adding that big league hurlers know what their strengths are, and his goal is to get them to channel that. 

"All this stuff is really important to keeping your pitcher out there throwing to his capabilities," Scioscia said. "Maldy's tremendous at it."

Worth noting

• Right-hander Mike Morin left for Arizona on Wednesday to throw to live hitters at the Angels' training facility on Thursday. Morin has been on the disabled list since April 21 with a neck injury.

• Scioscia said he hopes closer Huston Street is "where he needs to be in early June." The righty is eligible to come off the 60-day DL on June 1.

• Scioscia said "there's a ways to go" before left-hander Tyler Skaggs is ready to return from the right oblique strain he sustained on April 29.

• Right-hander Andrew Bailey's visit to Dr. David Altcheck revealed "no new damage", according to Scioscia, who added he'll go through a maintenance program to "see how he responds."

Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.