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ANGEL REPORT

Merloni Hurt on Turf Too

May 02, 2005|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

MINNEAPOLIS — The same Metrodome artificial turf that last April 30 contributed to an injury that forced former Angel Troy Glaus to sit out most of 2004 because of shoulder surgery, sidelined another Angel third baseman Sunday.

Lou Merloni, making only his second start of the season, sprained his right ankle when his spike got stuck in the turf as he made a throw after fielding Lew Ford's fourth-inning grounder and the utility infielder had to leave the game.

Merloni was put on the 15-day disabled list, and the Angels recalled Adam Kennedy from Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, where the second baseman was rehabilitating from right knee surgery.

Kennedy, who is returning about a month ahead of schedule after suffering tears in two knee ligaments on Sept. 20, hit .412 (seven for 17) in four games at triple-A Salt Lake and went two for five in two games for Rancho Cucamonga. He will join the Angels tonight in Seattle.

"In talking with our medical staff, we feel like Adam is ready physically," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "And most important, Adam feels ready."

Kennedy's return will force several shifts in the lineup, pushing second baseman Chone Figgins into a utility/designated hitter role and the platoon designated hitters -- Jeff DaVanon and Juan Rivera -- into lesser roles.

Figgins' versatility was a huge asset in 2004 -- he started at six positions and played in 148 games -- and since moving from the ninth spot to the second spot on April 22 this season, he is batting .417 (15 for 36). That's why Scioscia will keep Figgins as DH if no other position is available.

"There are a lot of creative ways to get Figgy in the lineup," Scioscia said. "For an offense in search of continuity, Figgins has been one of the bright spots, and we're definitely going to want to keep him in there on a daily basis."

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It was a daunting task for Francisco Rodriguez, who entered Sunday's game with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning, but it was nothing the Angel closer hasn't seen before.

The 23-year-old right hander had spent a bit more than two years as a setup man and drew on his experiences of extricating the Angels from late-inning jams when he induced a double-play grounder from pinch-hitter Matthew LeCroy to end the eighth and completed the ninth inning for his sixth save.

"Coming in with the bases loaded in the eighth inning and one out, those are the situations I had last year," Rodriguez said. "I like to be in those tough, pressure situations. I may feel a little extra adrenaline, but I don't feel the pressure at all."

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There has been a big push in the Twin Cities for a new open-air stadium to replace the Metrodome, but proponents of such a facility should take note: There were snow flurries in Minneapolis on Sunday morning, and the temperature outside the dome at game time was 40 degrees.

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ON DECK

Opponent -- Seattle Mariners, three games.

Site -- Safeco Field, Seattle.

TV -- Channel 9 tonight and Tuesday night, FSN West Wednesday.

Radio -- 710, 1020.

Records -- Angels 14-11, Mariners 12-13.

Record vs. Mariners -- 1-1.

Tonight, 7 -- Jarrod Washburn (1-0, 3.38) vs. Ryan Franklin (1-3, 4.09).

Tuesday, 7 p.m. -- John Lackey (2-1, 5.61) vs. Gil Meche (1-1, 5.27).

Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. -- Paul Byrd (1-3, 5.29) vs. Aaron Sele (2-2, 4.71).

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