Mickey Hatcher was walking from the clubhouse to the batting cage before Sunday's game, lamenting the Angels' latest loss, first baseman Casey Kotchman, who was hospitalized because of severe flu-like symptoms and was unable to attend Game 3 of the American League division series.
"It's a nice time to have all your guys break down," the batting instructor said sarcastically.
And that was before left fielder Garret Anderson was pulled after two innings because of an infection in his right eye, a condition that has bothered Anderson for a week and may have been exacerbated by Sunday's hot, dry, windy conditions.
Anderson flied to right field in his first at-bat but reacted late on Mike Lowell's double down the line in the second. Anderson finished the inning but was replaced by Reggie Willits to start the third.
"I couldn't follow Lowell's hit like I needed to," Anderson said. "Hitting wasn't too bad. I just couldn't react in the outfield like I needed to."
The Angels hit in the cages, not on the field, before the game, so Anderson did not shag any balls in the outfield to test the eye under bright conditions. If Anderson had deemed himself unable to play beforehand, Manager Mike Scioscia could have adjusted his lineup so the light-hitting Willits wasn't in the cleanup spot behind Vladimir Guerrero.
With two on in the third inning, Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling pitched around Guerrero, walking him on four pitches to get to Willits, who popped out to end the inning.
"I don't think that's the issue at all," Scioscia said, when asked if Anderson could have determined before the game if he couldn't play. "Sometimes when you get into game speed, that's going to happen. You need to have fans in the stands, the batter, the glare. I think he was OK up to a certain point, so who knows when he wasn't going to be able to see?"
Said Anderson: "I wasn't trying to hide anything. We took B.P. in the cages. We do that all the time. It was nothing out of the ordinary. I went about my business as usual."
Anderson's eyelid was swollen all series, giving the impression he had taken a few too many left hooks to the head.
"He was hitting with one eye," reliever Justin Speier said. "It's hard enough to play this game when you're 100%, let alone when you're 50%."
The Angels were not sure whether Kotchman's illness was related to that of pitching coach Mike Butcher, who was so sick as the Angels' charter pulled back from the gate at Boston's Logan Airport early Saturday morning that the plane returned to the terminal so Butcher could be taken to a hospital.
"It felt like someone poured a Gatorade bucket over my head -- I've never sweated so much in my life," said Butcher, who recovered in time to attend Sunday's game. "It wouldn't stop. I felt lightheaded. I'm not sure if it was a viral or bacterial infection."
Kotchman, who missed most of the 2006 season because of a viral syndrome, was replaced at first base Sunday by Kendry Morales, who went hitless in four at-bats.
Though the Red Sox dominated the Angels to sweep the series, Boston center fielder Coco Crisp didn't leave Anaheim feeling any less respect for the Angels.
"They're an amazing team," he said. "To control the running game and not allow some of their speed guys to get on, that helped us get these victories."