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May 10, 2024 6:52 am

Nolan Schanuel looks to spark Angels against Royals

Angels, Schanuel,

The Los Angeles Angels were impressed with first baseman Nolan Schanuel, drafting him out of Florida Atlantic University last year with the 11th overall pick and then promoting him to the major league team after just 22 games in the minors.

Schanuel, who likely will be batting leadoff for the Angels on Friday night when they face the Kansas City Royals in the second contest of a four-game series in Anaheim, Calif., hasn’t let the club down.

He hit .275 with a .402 on-base percentage in 29 games in 2023, essentially earning a starting spot this season. But Schanuel, who hit just one home run in 132 plate appearances last year, began this season trying to flex his muscles.

It didn’t work well for him, as he was batting just .093 with one extra-base hit through his first 14 games. To his credit, Schanuel was self-aware, made an adjustment and turned things around.

Schanuel, who went 1-for-4 with an RBI in the Angels’ 10-4 loss to the Royals on Thursday, is hitting .324 (23-for-71) with a .792 OPS in his past 19 games.

“I was pulling off the ball, trying to hit homers,” Schanuel said. “I kind of got ahead of myself earlier in the year doing something I’m not used to doing. J-Wash (hitting coach Johnny Washington) and (offensive coordinator Tim) Laker sat me down and said, ‘Hey, this is what you did last year and this way you did great.’ So I’m trying to get back to that.”

Los Angeles right-hander Griffin Canning (1-4, 6.69 ERA) will make his eighth start of the season on Friday. He is coming off his best start of the campaign on Sunday against the Cleveland Guardians despite getting tagged with the loss.

Canning gave up two runs on four hits and one walk over six innings in a 4-1 loss. He has had success in his career against Kansas City, going 2-1 with a 1.84 ERA in four starts.

Alec Marsh (3-0, 2.70) will start for the Royals. The right-hander is off to an impressive start after having a rough go in his rookie season last year, when he went 3-9 with a 5.69 ERA in 17 appearances (eight starts).

Marsh has been sidelined since getting hit on the right elbow by a line drive hit by the Toronto Blue Jays’ Addison Barger on April 24. Marsh was placed on the injured list with a contusion but returned for a rehab start on Sunday, and he threw four scoreless innings for Triple-A Omaha.

He hopes to continue his development as a pitcher, having learned from his struggles along the way and simply slowing himself down mentally.

“I think I was rushing through a lot of stuff,” Marsh said. “So I made it a point to just get in the zone, be in the zone more often, see how fast I can get to two strikes. And good results will follow.

“I’ve got the ball, so I dictate the game. Taking it easy, being smooth and staying back on my mechanics, and everything else will follow. Sticking with my process.”

–Field Level Media

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