Izturis' hot bat leading to more opportunities

Izturis' hot bat leading to more opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG -- Reserve infielder Maicer Izturis came into the year unsure when and where his at-bats would come. But as one of few hitters swinging the bat well early on, Angels manager Mike Scioscia has tried extra hard to find him starts.

After going the first five games without a start, Izturis -- batting .320 heading into Tuesday's series opener against the Rays -- has now started eight of the last 12 games, including Tuesday at third base.

"The coaches know about what I can do and what I can't," Izturis said in Spanish. "The main thing is just enjoying the game. If you enjoy the game, it helps your team, it helps you and you just stay positive. This is a game. You have to have fun. I don't try to put too much in my head."

The plan heading into the year was for Alberto Callaspo to mostly play third base when Mark Trumbo didn't, with Izturis focusing almost solely on the middle infield. But Izturis has now received four starts at the hot corner, with Callaspo batting just .206 through his first 11 games.

"To get in a flow, you have to play," Callaspo said in Spanish. "But I'm not hitting right now, so it's tough to justify putting me in the lineup."