The Los Angeles Angels opened the 2014 season with second-year right fielder Kole Calhoun in a new role as the team’s leadoff hitter. He took the challenge head on and was beginning to have success with it through the first two weeks of games.
That is where things stopped as he suffered a right ankle sprain when he stepped awkwardly on first base while attempting to leg out a ground ball in the 11th inning of the Angels’ 10-9 loss against the Oakland Athletics on Apr. 15. At the time of the injury, Calhoun was batting .250 with three home runs, six RBIs and 12 runs scored through 14 games played.
This included collecting hits in 10 out of the last 12 games played and having a three-game hit streak with at least two hits, one run scored and one double in each game. Calhoun had even hit a home run in the at-bat prior to suffering the injury. It was beginning to look like things were going take off offensively for right fielder, but the injury forced him to miss a month of the season.
The 26-year-old made his return to the lineup on May 21 against the Kansas City Royals and has since struggled mightily at the plate; he has just one hit in 15 at-bats with five strikeouts in five games played. It has not been quite what either Calhoun or Angels expected, but it is not something to be too concerned about as he is still finding his timing after missing the last 31 games due to injury.
If anything the Angels should be more worried about how he is moving on his right ankle on the base paths and in the outfield, which have so far not been a problem. It has been Calhoun’s offensive struggles that are frustrating and something Los Angeles must exercise their patience with as he works through the rust.
Ultimately baseball is a game of finding your groove, and once Calhoun finds his at the plate, everything will work out for the betterment of the team as long he remains healthy.