ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Angels' hottest hitter since the All-Star break went on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. No, it wasn't Vladimir Guerrero. Or Jose Guillen. Or Garret Anderson. Or Darin Erstad.
It was third baseman Robb Quinlan, an afterthought in the first half but a rookie who had become an integral part of the offense during a 21-game hit streak in which he batted .425 with three home runs and 17 runs batted in from July 20 to Aug. 10.
Quinlan suffered a torn left oblique on a swing during early batting practice Tuesday and is expected to be out for at least a month. After 10 swings in the first round of batting practice, Quinlan suffered the injury on his second swing of the second round. It was initially diagnosed as a strain, but an MRI test revealed the tear.
"The doctor said if everything goes perfect, maybe it would take a month, but I [tore] it pretty good," Quinlan said. "I'm really disappointed. I felt I had an opportunity to play every day and help the team out.
"I can't say I would have done anything different to prevent it -- I was loose and ready to go," he said. "I feel I let everyone down a bit."
Quinlan, who is batting .344 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 56 games, was replaced on the roster by Bengie Molina, who was activated after sitting out 15 days because of a broken right index finger.
"It was kind of a shock when it happened," Manager Mike Scioscia said about Quinlan's injury. "It was unfortunate."
For a number of reasons.
With Quinlan solidifying third base, Scioscia had used utility player Chone Figgins at six positions, spelling an outfielder who needed a day off, shortstop David Eckstein if he was banged up or second baseman Adam Kennedy against a left-handed pitcher.
With Quinlan out, Figgins will return to third base full-time.
"Figgins' versatility gave us a lot of depth everywhere," Scioscia said, "and that versatility is going to be minimized because he has to play third base."
Quinlan's bat also enabled Scioscia to move Erstad from the sixth to second spot over the weekend. Quinlan moved from seventh to sixth.
"I don't know how this will affect the lineup, but the way Robb was swinging, we're going to need guys to pick up the slack," Scioscia said. "We have a lot of faith in [outfielder Jeff] DaVanon, and [Tim] Salmon is swinging better. Hopefully we'll have the depth to do what we need to do."
Pitcher Jarrod Washburn, who has been out since July 21 because of a strained ligament in his left ribcage, played long toss and threw off the mound Tuesday, the first time the left-hander had thrown off the mound since July 26. "He's feeling much better," Scioscia said. "We were pleasantly surprised he was able to take that step.".... Bengie Molina also threw Tuesday. Although he was activated, he is not expected to be ready to catch until Thursday or Friday.