CLEVELAND — Kaleb Cowart is ready to show that he’s ready to be a major leaguer.
“I think, for the first time in my career, I come up here and feel like I belong,” Cowart said Tuesday. “It feels great. I really know what I’m doing. I know how to fix things. In the past, I was younger and didn’t know how to fix things right away. Now I do.”
The Angels promoted Cowart from Triple-A on Tuesday and immediately put him in the lineup at second base, the start of what could be an extended trial at a position that has been a trouble spot for the Angels this season. Danny Espinosa was released after hitting .162 and Nick Franklin has hit .087 in his first 11 games with the Angels.
“We’re going to try to mix Kaleb in as much as we can,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “He can play multi positions so that will help, but right now he’s going to get an opportunity at second base.”
As for how much of an opportunity, Scioscia wouldn’t elaborate: “Let’s take it one step at a time.”
Cowart had played third for most of his pro career, only last year beginning to learn second. He’d also struggled at the plate for most of his career, including in the minors. He’d hit just .187 in 143 plate appearances in the majors prior to Tuesday.
So the two questions that keep him from getting a shot at the majors were how he’d done with the defensive transition, and whether he’d made enough strides offensively.
As for the first question, Cowart was still playing mostly third until June, when the Angels began having him play second almost exclusively.
“I think it was just a matter of doing it every day and knowing you were going to play it every day,” he said.
Scioscia said Cowart’s defense has continually improved since last year: “He’s made an incredible amount of progress.”
Offensively, Cowart hit .311 with an .865 OPS at Triple-A, including a 9-for-12 weekend. A switch-hitter, Cowart said the difference has been his discipline.