TORONTO — Ironically, it was on a day that Kaleb Cowart wasn’t even in the lineup that he took a step closer to being the Angels’ everyday second baseman.
The Angels designated Nick Franklin for assignment Saturday morning, eliminating one of the players who could have fought Cowart for playing time at second.
Cowart has started four of five games at second since his arrival Tuesday, giving way Saturday to Cliff Pennington because he hadn’t started in a week.
“I think we definitely want to get an extended look at Kaleb,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He’s a guy who worked really hard and really improved the offensive side of his game. He’ll get most of the looks. Penny will also get some looks.”
That left no room for Franklin, who was 3 for 24 in 13 games with the Angels after they acquired him about a month ago.
“In fairness to Nick, he didn’t get an extended look,” Scioscia said. “The direction we’re moving wasn’t going to give him a lot of at-bats or playing time right now.”
The impetus for the move Saturday was, indirectly, Alex Meyer’s injury. The Angels planned to have Yusmeiro Petit start a bullpen game Saturday, in Meyer’s spot, so that created a need for an extra reliever. They officially activated Troy Scribner as the eighth reliever.
Albert Pujols hit a 101 mph lineout to center field and he drew his first walk of the week, which were the only positives he could muster out of another hitless game. Pujols struck out and grounded out in his other two trips, running his drought to 0-for-24. The longest of his career was an 0-for-26 streak last April.
Scioscia said “we’ll look at” some options for Pujols, including giving him a day off. He said he’s talked to Pujols and doesn’t feel he’s tired, though.
“It seems like he’s just missing some pitches,” Scioscia said. “He feels strong. He feels like he’s starting to put better swings on the ball. You can see some of that.”