Aybar, Hatcher work on fixing inconsistency

Aybar, Hatcher work on fixing inconsistency

Aybar, Hatcher work on fixing inconsistency
ARLINGTON -- Lost amid the head-scratching struggles of the Angels' new first baseman, Albert Pujols, has been the year-long funk of their recently extended shortstop, Erick Aybar, who entered Sunday's series finale against the Rangers batting .200 with a .227 on-base percentage and one stolen base in 32 games.

Aybar had the day off against righty Neftali Feliz on Mother's Day -- as did the similarly struggling Torii Hunter -- but he and hitting coach Mickey Hatcher believe they've figured something out that can get him right at the plate.

Well, from one side, at least.

In looking at tape recently, the Angels noticed the switch-hitting Aybar's stride has been different from the left side of the plate. As a timing mechanism, Aybar usually taps his right foot once, then strides toward the pitch. Recently, though, an extra tap has been subconsciously incorporated, which may be throwing off his timing.

"He's got like a two-step thing going at the plate, and we want to correct that right now," Hatcher said. "He had a good session in the cage, so we'll see."

Hatcher wants Aybar to get more fluid with his stride, and Aybar believes that could be all it takes to get him going again.

"Of course," he said in Spanish. "I'm seeing the ball well, putting good swings and doing everything else right. ... When you know you're not swinging at bad pitches, it's because something else is wrong. I was swinging at good pitches and kept popping the ball up, and not getting my hands out. But today I did some work in the cage and everything went well."

Aybar, signed to a four-year, $35 million extension in mid-April, began the year batting leadoff, but has mostly hit eighth over the last three weeks, with the young Mike Trout taking over the table-setting duties since his April 28 callup.

Aybar batted .280 with a .327 on-base percentage over the last three years, but has struggled from both sides of the plate in 2012, posting a .225 on-base percentage from the left and a .231 on-base percentage from the right.

"When you know you can do more than you're doing, you're like, 'Wow, what's going on?'" Aybar said. "I'm not that kind of player. But, hey, it's only a month of baseball. There's more than four months left. You just have to adjust."