ANAHEIM -- David Freese started his Angels career with a .140/.208/.209 slash line in 48 plate appearances, six months after the veteran third baseman batted .179 in a playoff run that immediately followed a regular season in which his OPS dropped by 118 points.
On Tuesday, for the second of a three-game series against the A's, Freese was dropped to seventh in the batting order.
"We have to get David in a comfort zone," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "and sometimes, changing the neighborhood helps."
Freese batted .283 in Spring Training, but only one of his 15 hits went for extra bases. He began the regular season batting fourth against lefties and fifth against righties, then looked primed to essentially be the everyday cleanup hitter when Josh Hamilton injured his left thumb. But the 30-year-old struck out twice in each of his last four games prior to Tuesday, with one hit and one walk in 19 plate appearances over that span.
Freese spent pregame Tuesday working with hitting coaches Dave Hansen and Paul Sorrento, searching for "a little comfort area with some of his posture that I think is going to allow his hands to work better" and drive the ball the opposite way like he traditionally has, Scioscia said.
The Angels have kept tabs on Freese to make sure that he isn't putting too much pressure on himself in his first season with his new team.
"He's very calm on the baseball field, and I think he understands that he can play better than he did last year," Scioscia said. "Coming to a new team, there might be an element of that. But I think he's very comfortable with his teammates, he's very comfortable with what his role is on the club, and hopefully he'll start to hit stride and get the big hits that he's capable of getting."
Baylor might be back with Angels by end of April
ANAHEIM -- Angels hitting coach Don Baylor is currently in physical therapy, and manager Mike Scioscia is hopeful that he can rejoin the team in a limited capacity when it returns from a three-city road trip for the April 28 series opener against the Indians.
It'll still be a while before Baylor can be in the dugout during games, and even longer before he can travel with the team. But Baylor, who suffered a fractured right femur while catching the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day, may be able to work with hitters and attend pregame meetings before home games in about 13 days.
"Don's a tough guy," Scioscia said prior to Tuesday's game against the A's. "He's anxious to get back. We've texted a lot. He's in touch with [hitting coaches] Dave [Hansen] and Paul [Sorrento] on a daily basis. He's still keeping tabs on everything that's going on."
Baylor was discharged from UCI Medical Center on April 4, three days post-op. Based on his initial prognosis, the 64-year-old still is at least three weeks away from being able to put weight on his right side, so he'd probably be getting around on a walker upon returning to Angel Stadium. Baylor is currently recovering at his home in La Quinta, Calif.
Scioscia said he doesn't "anticipate Don back in full force for a while," adding: "Even being here and being in the dugout, getting involved; I'm not sure when that's going to be."
Halos place De La Rosa on disabled list
ANAHEIM -- Dane De La Rosa was placed on the disabled list Tuesday, two days after the Angels optioned him to Triple-A Salt Lake. The club determined that the 31-year-old right-hander was injured after sending him down to the Minors. And since an injured player can't be optioned, they voided the move and instead put him on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 13.
De La Rosa started the season on the shelf because of a right forearm strain. He then had three scoreless one-inning outings in a Minor League rehab assignment, but experienced a surprising drop in velocity when he made his 2014 debut with the Angels on Saturday.
De La Rosa's latest injury is officially deemed irritation in the S/C joint near his right shoulder.
Prior to Tuesday's game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the latest ailment is "not significant" and that De La Rosa will continue to throw while in Arizona. He'll soon be joined at the Angels' Spring Training complex by lefty reliever Sean Burnett, who played catch for the second straight day on Tuesday and is expected to get off a mound again within the next few days.
• The Angels are not among the teams scouting Joel Hanrahan, the veteran closer who had Tommy John surgery in May 2013 and was believed to be taking part in a showcase for interested clubs on Thursday.
• Slap-hitting outfielder J.B. Shuck batted sixth on Tuesday, even though he doesn't bring much power. "Right now," Scioscia said, "J.B. is the functional hitter that you want hitting behind Howie [Kendrick]."
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.