MINNEAPOLIS -- Angels third baseman David Freese was miffed when reporters approached him prior to Thursday's game.
"Guys," Freese said, "I didn't get a hit for three or four days. Come on."
But it wasn't really about the 0-for-20 slump Freese carried into the four-game series at Target Field. It was about the dynamics surrounding the slump -- the fact that he sat on Tuesday, had served as the designated hitter in three of his last six starts and may continue to lose playing time to newcomer Gordon Beckham.
"I come to the field ready to go whether I'm in there or not," Freese said when asked about his playing time being in jeopardy. "Same attitude. I just do what I do."
And Freese stepped up in Thursday's 5-4 win, hitting an RBI double to cap a four-run fourth and adding a ground-rule double to lead off the ninth and set up the go-ahead run.
"I know in the recent past -- however long you want to look back -- I haven't played my best ball, but there are always moments when good things can happen, and they do," he said after the game. "I just keep battling. We're in a good position to play in October, and that's what I'm looking at."
Manager Mike Scioscia has a secondary option in Beckham, who was initially brought in as a backup but is an upgrade over Freese defensively and has seven hits in his last 16 at-bats. Scioscia is open to giving Beckham more playing time if he continues to swing the bat well, but it sounds as though he'll continue to give Freese the benefit of the doubt.
Nights like Thursday only help to encourage that.
"This guy's a much better player, especially in the batter's box, than he's shown up to this point with us," Scioscia said. "If it comes, he's going to help us huge in September. And you want to play that out as much as you can, balancing that with the need to keep offense on the field. We'll continue to look at it."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.