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This gain comes with some definite pain

Kotchman, Anderson are among Angels injured or banged up. Dodgers' Schmidt off his game again.

June 17, 2007|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

First baseman Casey Kotchman wound up in the hospital, and left fielder Garret Anderson wound up on the disabled list. Right fielder Vladimir Guerrero suffered a bruised right forearm when he was hit by a pitch, and pitcher Jered Weaver jammed his shoulder slightly sliding into second base.

To say the Angels' medical staff had a busy Saturday afternoon in Dodger Stadium would be an understatement, kind of like saying Dodgers right-hander Jason Schmidt may have lost a little something off his fastball, but at least the Angels had a 3-0 Freeway Series victory over the Dodgers to soothe their wounds.

The Dodgers? They were left with the sting of another feeble offensive performance and more questions about Schmidt, whose fastball topped out at 88 mph during an erratic 4 2/3 -inning effort in which he gave up three runs and five hits and threw 78 pitches, several of which bounced far in front of the plate.

"Something is still not right," said Schmidt, who fell to 1-4 in his third start since sitting out 45 games because of bursitis in his shoulder. "Everything is not quite there. I just haven't felt like myself."

This is not what the Dodgers expected last winter when they shelled out $47 million over three years for Schmidt, a 12-year veteran with a 127-90 record before this season. Not that Schmidt was a staff ace or immune to injury, but the Dodgers thought he'd be more consistent, more reliable, more effective.

"We have concern," Manager Grady Little said, "but we are still trying to get this thing righted."

The Angels had their own problems, foremost being the health of their hottest hitter, Kotchman, who suffered a concussion when he was hit in the helmet while diving back to second base on catcher Russell Martin's seventh-inning pickoff attempt and was sent to Centinela Hospital Medical Center for tests.

"He was woozy, and he'll probably be woozy for a little while," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Kotchman, who was hitting .467 (14 for 30) on the trip and had 24 runs batted in over his last 31 games. "We'll wait and see where he is in a day or two. Hopefully, he won't be out for too long."

The Angels didn't wait to make a move with Anderson, who aggravated his right hip injury while making a running catch of Juan Pierre's fly to the gap in the first inning and was pulled from the game.

Anderson, who sat out six weeks from late April to early June because of a tear in his right hip flexor tendon, was put on the 15-day disabled list, and the Angels today will recall outfielder Terry Evans, who is batting .327 with 10 home runs, 23 doubles and 45 runs batted in at triple-A Salt Lake.

"He didn't have the strength in his hip to do what he needs to do," Scioscia said of Anderson. "He's going to need some time to nurse it. Obviously, something needs to be done to strengthen it."

Reggie Willits emerged as a productive leadoff hitter and capable outfielder during Anderson's first stint on the disabled list, and he went from understudy to leading role again Saturday, with a two-out, two-run single that gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the fifth. But the in-game transition wasn't quite as smooth as it seemed.

"I wasn't really ready, to be honest with you," Willits said. "I was eating sunflower seeds and drinking a glass of water when they told me I'm on deck."

Willits was thrown out on a bunt attempt in that second-inning at-bat and walked in the fourth, but after Guerrero was hit by a pitch with two outs in the fifth -- the slugger remained in the game with his forearm bandaged -- Gary Matthews Jr. singled and Kotchman walked to load the bases, Willits delivered a soft single to right field.

Howie Kendrick followed with a hit-and-run single through the vacated shortstop hole to give the Angels a 3-0 lead, and that was all Weaver and three relievers would need.

Weaver battled through several jams to throw 5 1/3 shutout innings, giving up four hits and striking out three, and Darren Oliver, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez, who struck out the side in the ninth for his 22nd save, combined for 3 2/3 innings of relief.

"We got nicked up a bit," Scioscia said, "but we held on for the win."

--

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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