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Guerrero, Shields to undergo medical tests

June 05, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

SEATTLE -- Mike Scioscia put a positive spin on a potentially disturbing development for the Angels, who sent right fielder Vladimir Guerrero and setup man Scot Shields to Southern California on Wednesday to be examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Neither played in the three-game sweep of the Mariners, Guerrero suffering from a sore right knee, which he hurt sliding into third base Sunday, and Shields sidelined by a left rib-cage injury. Both are expected to undergo MRI tests.

"If everything goes well, we anticipate they'll be available this weekend," the Angels manager said. "They're making progress, but before we want to ramp them up to playing games, we want to make sure there's nothing there that's going to set them back."

Guerrero is hitting .249 with seven home runs and 28 runs batted in, the worst two-month start of a career that has featured 10 straight seasons with at least a .300 average and 25 homers.

The injury to Shields, who is 3-1 with a 3.27 earned-run average in 22 games, could be of bigger concern because it's in such a sensitive area. Some pitchers have sat out two months because of rib-cage strains.

Not-so-slim pickings

The Angels' first pick in today's amateur draft will be late in the second round, the 74th overall selection, but they still believe they can find a potential impact player.

And why not? The current ace of their pitching staff, John Lackey, was the 68th overall pick in 1999. Cleveland star center fielder Grady Sizemore was the 75th overall pick in 2000.

"There are players on our board who we think can impact us in a positive way," General Manager Tony Reagins said. "Obviously, we don't know who will be available at No. 74, but we feel there are some players who can help our organization."

The Angels lost their first-round pick, the 27th overall selection, to the Minnesota Twins as compensation for signing free-agent center fielder Torii Hunter.

Superstition highway

Mike Napoli claimed he wasn't trying to change his luck, but if the catcher didn't enter Wednesday in a one-for-24 slump, it's doubtful he would have been sporting a Mohawk.

"It's the rally 'hawk," said Napoli, who hit a sacrifice fly and singled in the Angels' 5-4 win over Seattle Wednesday.

"We were in the locker room [Tuesday] night, I hadn't had a haircut in a while, and I wanted to try something different. So, I just did it. Actually, Brandon Wood did it. This is my first Mohawk."

Napoli sent a picture of his hairdo to his mother, who "wasn't too happy about it," Napoli said. His teammates, however, got a kick out of it.

"It's a good look -- it's getting us wins -- but it won't spread," pitcher Jered Weaver said. "He's the only one who could pull it off. He's the only Riverside guy here."

Extended shelf life

Scioscia said leadoff batter Chone Figgins, on the disabled list because of a right hamstring strain, has not progressed enough in his workouts to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment this weekend, as was hoped.

"He's definitely moving in the right direction," Scioscia said of Figgins, who has been hitting, taking ground balls and doing some running. "But we need to see him run the bases [aggressively] before he goes out to play."


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