Los An­ge­les An­gels

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - AL WEST -

With sea­son and scuf­fling, rookie

has been a pleas­ant sur­prise at third base.

Fletcher hit .281 in his first 57 at-bats and flashed a glove that turned in nu­mer­ous solid, and crit­i­cal, plays. A for­mer six­thround pick, Fletcher was quickly win­ning over man­ager

Zack Cozart

Luis Val­buena David Fletcher Scios­cia.

out for the

Mike

“I think that any­time a player plays well, ob­vi­ously they’re gonna win more at-bats and more play­ing time,” Scios­cia said. “He’s def­i­nitely do­ing that.”

While Fletcher has opened eyes, Scios­cia warned against dis­miss­ing Val­buena. Scios­cia noted that Val­buena got hot in the sec­ond half last year.

“We need him,” Scios­cia said. “We need that power. We need that pres­ence.”

❚ has proved to be among the fastest An­gels, and Scios­cia spec­u­lated that the part-time pitcher could steal 15-20 bases a sea­son. Oh­tani was per­fect in his first two at­tempts, in­clud­ing one that helped beat the Los An­ge­les Dodgers on July 6. “It’s not al­ways how many you’re steal­ing,” Scios­cia said. “If you’re steal­ing them at the right time, you can in­flu­ence the game.”

Sho­hei Oh­tani

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