No. 2 man is No. 1 with Angels

Izturis a bright light in Angels' offense

ANAHEIM -- One bright light during the outage, a consistently productive weapon during the Angels' recent offensive struggles, has been Maicer Izturis. The diminutive shortstop has been a big hit, whether he's batting first or second in manager Mike Scioscia's lineup.

"I've been feeling good up there, seeing the ball well," Izturis said, after having a 13-game hitting streak snapped in Sunday's 2-0 victory over the Braves. "I'm just trying to help the team, do whatever I can."

After stroking leadoff homers in consecutive games in Oakland, helping drive the Angels to five wins in six games on their last road trip, Izturis was moved into the No. 2 spot in the order with the return of leadoff catalyst Chone Figgins, who came back slashing bullets, going 3-for-10 against the Braves.

"I like hitting behind Chone," Izturis said. "We're similar hitters, so I can see how guys are pitching him before I go up. They might change how they pitch me later in the game, but they usually pitch me about the same way they do him.

"Chone and I talk a lot during the game. He's a great guy to play with."

In the No. 2 spot, Izturis has continued to deliver, with four RBIs and a .292 average in the six games at home against the Rays and Braves. Over the past 21 games, he has lifted his average from .208 to .259, hitting .383 during the past 14 games. Izturis has 14 RBIs in 15 games, and he's errorless in the field in 30 games at shortstop.

"He's a good player and a good hitter, very consistent with his approach," Figgins said. "Maicer has good discipline at the plate and can take a pitch if I'm in a position to steal. He also uses the whole field and can hit with runners on base."

Izturis led the Angels last season with a .406 average (96 at-bats) with runners in scoring position. He's at .317 this season and hitting .333 with two outs and runners on second and/or third base. For his career, he's a .337 batter with runners in scoring position.

Load the bases for Izturis, and his eyes really get big. He's 4-for-7 with nine RBIs this year with the bases full, and over his career, in 24 opportunities with the bases loaded, he's a .500 hitter with 30 RBIs.

"I just try to concentrate, stay back and get a good swing," Izturis said, subscribing to the keep it simple method in clutch situations.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.