MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder J.B. Shuck got a rare day off Monday, but it was not because the Twins sent left-hander Pedro Hernandez to the mound. Rather, it came after a string of 11 starts in 12 days for Shuck, who is a career .327 hitter against lefties, including a .312 mark in 93 at-bats this year. It is a rare achievement for a left-handed hitter, especially one who is hitting .278 against right-handed pitching.
How well has Shuck handled the bat against lefties this year? If you take out his average this season, all other Angels left-handed hitters are 33-for-173 (.191) against southpaws. But the success has not been much of a surprise to Shuck, who hit well against lefties in the Minor Leagues and carried that approach with him to Anaheim.
"I've never felt like I've struggled that bad against them -- I guess I see them pretty well," Shuck said. "I think the big thing is I just try not to do too much. They've still got to throw it over the plate. I just focus on seeing the ball and trying to get a good pitch to hit.
"I think some lefties maybe try to do a bit too much. I just try to keep it simple when I'm facing a lefty."
Shuck ranks seventh in the Major Leagues this year in lefty-on-lefty batting average, one reason Angels manager Mike Scioscia has not batted an eye at leaving the rookie right fielder in the lineup against even the toughest lefties on the Angels' schedule.
"From early in Spring Training, we could see that he's a guy who's very comfortable in knowing what his talent was," Scioscia said. "He's not trying to hit the ball into the next stratosphere -- he's just trying to make contact, take what the pitcher's giving him and use the whole field. For a left-handed hitter, that should play well against lefties, and it has this year."
Shuck said he appreciated his manager's support, noting that consistent playing time had helped him stay productive throughout his rookie season.
"It's a good thing for me I guess, in building my confidence," Shuck said. "It's great to know the manager backs you and has the confidence to put you out there, so it just helps me go about my business and relax a little bit knowing I'll have those chances."
Patrick Donnelly is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.