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ANGELS FYI

Izturis' nice play is a bit costly

August 03, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

NEW YORK -- Maicer Izturis' superb play Friday was ESPN's top-rated web gem, but it came at a price. The Angels shortstop sprained his left thumb on his diving stop of a shot up the middle by New York's Robinson Cano, and there's a chance Izturis could go on the disabled list.

"It's always good to rule out a fracture, but sprains can take some time too," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll evaluate it over the next couple of days. There's always a chance he'll go on the DL, but that's obviously not our hope."

An X-ray on the thumb Saturday was normal, but Izturis, who has hit .314 over his last 38 games and has been a key table-setter at the top of the lineup, will undergo an MRI test and be examined by a hand specialist Monday in Anaheim.

Izturis, who has provided solid and sometimes spectacular defense -- he has only four errors, two at shortstop -- was unable to grip a bat or play catch Saturday and will be available only as a pinch-runner today.

"When I got up [Saturday] it was swollen," Izturis said. "But it feels better."

Close call

The ball Izturis made his play on Friday actually caromed off Ervin Santana's pitching hand, and the right-hander was lucky to come away from the play unscathed.

Cano's hard-hit ball struck Santana on the outside of his hand, catching more flesh than bone, and the pitcher said he felt fine after icing it after the game.

"That was scary," Scioscia said. "To deflect a ball that much to shortstop, it had to have gotten a good piece of him. That could have been bad. We must be living right."

Familiar face

The Angels were tormented Saturday by a former teammate. Jose Molina, who lost his starting job when the Yankees acquired catcher Ivan Rodriguez from Detroit on Wednesday, had three hits, including a homer, and three runs in an 8-2 Yankees win.

Molina singled and took third on Johnny Damon's single to right field before scoring in the third. He hit his first homer this season in the fifth, and singled and scored in the seventh.

"He understands what he needs to do in the box, and if you don't get pitches in good zones, he'll put a good swing on them," Scioscia said.

Comeback trail

Mike Napoli (sore shoulder) caught five innings for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday night in the first of what is expected to be a six-game minor league rehabilitation assignment. He singled, walked twice and struck out in four plate appearances. He was scheduled to start at designated hitter Saturday and will catch seven innings today.

Short hops

Yankees starter Mike Mussina gave up two hits in seven innings Saturday, holding an opponent to two hits or fewer while pitching at least seven innings for the first time since July 7, 2003, at Boston, when he gave up one hit in eight innings.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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