HOUSTON — Martin Maldonado said he normally talks to his mother every day, which is what made the past three days so difficult.
After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, devastating much of Maldonado’s native island, he was out of contact with his family for days.
He said he only slept for “a couple hours,” in the first two nights because he was concerned for his family. On Friday morning, Maldonado finally heard from his brother, who let him know their mother was OK.
“I felt so great to get that call,” Maldonado said Friday afternoon. “It was bad. It was really bad, just thinking how I hadn’t heard from anybody.”
Maldonado said his home in Puerto Rico escaped damage, and his family members were all safe. He said he plans to join with Yadier Molina’s fundraising and relief efforts to support the victims in Puerto Rico.
Manager Mike Scioscia moved Brandon Phillips out of the leadoff spot for the first time since the Angels acquired him three weeks ago. Phillips moved down to fifth, with Kole Calhoun going to the No. 1 spot.
“Although Brandon has led off before, getting him in the RBI mix will be helpful,” Scioscia said. “Kole is really comfortable at the top. We’ll just see.”
Calhoun hit leadoff 187 times previously in his career, including being the Angels’ primary leadoff hitter in 2014. Calhoun has had some dramatic ups and downs for most of this season, but in September he’s settled into a fairly consistent level of production. He’d also drawn four walks in the previous three games, including three against left-handed pitchers, which could be a sign that he’s seeing the ball particularly well.
Scioscia made the move prior to a game against Justin Verlander, despite Calhoun’s career numbers (1 for 20, 10 strikeouts) against Verlander.
“I don’t know if we have many guys with good numbers against Verlander,” Scioscia said.
Andrew Heaney (shoulder impingement) played catch again and “made a lot of improvement,” Scioscia said. Scioscia said Heaney hasn’t even begun long toss, though, and is not ready to get on the mound. At this point, it seems unlikely Heaney could be back before the end of the regular season, next weekend. The Angels could simply be prepping him to possibly pitch in the postseason. …
Huston Street (strained rotator cuff) is still throwing in instructional league in Arizona, but “he’s not making any progress,” Scioscia said. Street also seems unlikely to…