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Angel News Good and Vlad

Guerrero is out for at least the weekend after partially dislocating his shoulder. Washburn is sharp and Erickson can't get out of the second.

May 21, 2005|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

One scary moment Friday night served as a jarring reminder that the Angels don't belong to Los Angeles or Anaheim.

They are Vladimir Guerrero's team, and without him they might well be called the Lost Angels.

In the first game between the Angels and Dodgers that could be accurately termed a cross-town rivalry, the euphoria of a 9-0 Angel victory in front of an announced sellout of 54,543 at Dodger Stadium was tempered by concern that Guerrero might be sidelined for an extended period.

The 2004 American League most valuable player jammed his left shoulder sliding headfirst at home trying to score on a double by Steve Finley in the fifth inning. Catcher Jason Phillips tagged him out and it took Guerrero several minutes to walk off the field. He was in obvious pain, his arm dangling by his side.

X-rays showed a partial dislocation and a more complete set of tests will be conducted today. Angel Manager Mike Scioscia said Guerrero won't play the rest of the series.

The best-case scenario would be no further damage being detected and the Angels not having to place him on the disabled list. If recent history is an indication, Guerrero could be back in the lineup soon. Last season he sat out three games because of a sore wrist and played through assorted pain that included a herniated disk and getting hit in the head with a pitch.

Guerrero wasn't needed against the Dodgers, who were baffled for seven innings by left-hander Jarrod Washburn (3-2). Olmedo Saenz doubled twice and Cesar Izturis singled twice -- his fifth consecutive multi-hit game -- but the closest the Dodgers came to scoring came when Saenz was thrown out at the plate on Phillips' two-out single in the seventh.

It marked Washburn's fourth scoreless outing of six or more innings this season. He came out of the game because of tightness in his elbow, but it didn't appear serious.

"It's been a little bit tight for the last couple weeks," he said. "It gradually got a little worse, but it wasn't something where I couldn't have gone out there and thrown."

Four Angel runs came early against Scott Erickson, whose most glaring mistake was walking Washburn with one out and runners on second and third in the second inning.

"I had him 1-and-2 and I walked him," Erickson said. "It's pretty much inexcusable."

Chone Figgins followed with a triple to right-center, Darin Erstad scored him with a line-drive sacrifice fly to right, and when Jeff DaVanon singled, Erickson (1-4, 7.22 earned-run average) was finished.

And he might be finished altogether as a Dodger if not for injuries to other pitchers.

Manager Jim Tracy wouldn't speculate on Erickson's status.

"Instead of sitting here and blurting out something that I'd regret," Tracy said, "I'll be much better served to present it the proper way [later]."

Tracy summoned Wilson Alvarez with two out in the second after Erickson threw only 24 strikes in 48 pitches.

Alvarez might be next in line for a start. Tracy has been reluctant to extend the pitch count of the 35-year-old because he spent the first month of the season on the disabled list with shoulder tendinitis. But Alvarez made 27 starts the last two seasons, including a stretch of 10 starts in 2003 when he was 6-0 with a 1.39 ERA. He held the Angels scoreless for 4 1/3 innings, giving up one hit and walking none.

The damage had been done, however. And with the Dodger offense limping along, the five runs the Angels tacked on in the ninth were superfluous. Even though Guerrero's replacement, the .234-hitting Juan Rivera, hit a grand slam against reliever Yhency Brazoban, the Angels were thinking about their star right fielder.

In 2003, New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter sat out six weeks because of a dislocated shoulder that did not require surgery. An absence of similar length could be disastrous to the Angels.

"Any time a team loses the MVP of the league it's going to be a huge loss," Washburn said. "If he is [sidelined], we'll have to try to figure out a way to get through it."

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