The fact that Robb Quinlan did not start against a left-handed pitcher Friday night does not bode well for the reserve infielder's short-term future with the Angels.
The team will need a roster spot when catcher Bengie Molina (strained right thigh) comes off the disabled list this week, and Quinlan, who was expected to platoon with third baseman Dallas McPherson but had only three at-bats in 15 games before Saturday night, appears vulnerable.
Utility infielder David Matranga is the other candidate to return to triple-A Salt Lake, but in making tough roster decisions, Manager Mike Scioscia often chooses defense over offense, and Matranga, who can play second base, shortstop, third base and the outfield, provides more defensive coverage than Quinlan.
The Angels are also contemplating whether it might be best for Quinlan, who is hitting .138, to return to Salt Lake and play every day, so if there is an injury to McPherson or first baseman Darin Erstad, Quinlan would be more prepared to step in on a regular basis.
Quinlan spent a month as the Angels' regular third baseman last season and in 56 games hit .344 with five home runs and 23 runs batted in, but he has only 29 at-bats this season. The Angels face left-handers in three of their next four games, so Quinlan's chances of playing would seem to improve.
"I was in the same situation last year -- I wasn't playing at all, then I was thrown into it and did pretty well," Quinlan said. "I feel like I'm getting enough work in the cage to where my swing is where it should be."
Quinlan's swing isn't doing the Angels much good on the bench, though.
"Obviously, I'd like to play as much as I can; on the other hand, we've been on a roll with the guys who are playing, so it's tough to argue with that," Quinlan said. "If that's not happening, Mike will make changes."
The Angels had six runners caught stealing in five games from Sunday to Friday, including Erstad and Steve Finley at third base Friday night, but Scioscia said he has no plans for turning the green light many players have on the basepaths to yellow or red.
"We're not going to slow our aggressiveness," Scioscia said.
Even against Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez, an 11-time Gold Glove winner with a cannon for an arm?
"Scioscia wants us to be aggressive," Erstad said. "I had the green light, but the pitch I picked didn't work out. Pudge made a great throw. But we've got to keep applying pressure in the right spots."
Tim Salmon's rehabilitation from left shoulder and left knee surgery has progressed to the point where he is jogging on a treadmill, but the veteran outfielder is still weeks away from swinging a bat.