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ANGELS REPORT

Figgins averts disabled list

May 05, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Chone Figgins avoided the 15-day disabled list Sunday, an MRI test on the infielder's right hamstring showing a mild strain, but pitcher Dustin Moseley did not.

The right-hander, who underwent ligament relocation surgery last October, was placed on the DL because of tightness in his forearm and was replaced on the roster by infielder Sean Rodriguez, who was recalled from triple-A Salt Lake.

Rodriguez started at second base Sunday in place of Figgins, who suffered the injury when his right foot clipped umpire Paul Emmel on his hook slide into the plate in the eighth inning of Saturday's 3-1 victory over the Orioles.

"If I didn't hit the umpire, we wouldn't be talking about this," Figgins said. "This has happened before. Every time I do that slide, I seem to hit the umpire. It's a freak thing."

On close plays at the plate, Figgins often slides several feet wide of home and reaches back to swipe the plate with his left hand. Manager Mike Scioscia said he expects umpiring supervisors to review the play to determine whether Emmel was too close.

"That play happens quickly," Scioscia said. "Sometimes in order to get a view, [umpires] are in the line of fire more than they want to be."

Emmel said he was in the right position.

"I've got to get close so I can look down to see his hand slap the plate," Emmel said. "If I'm not there, I miss the call. So, would you rather have the call right?

"That's the first time I've been hit in 20 years. [Figgins] swings wide of the box, and that puts him out there where I am. I'm just trying to put myself in the best position to get the call right."

Figgins said his hamstring felt "a lot better" Sunday than it did Saturday. The leadoff batter took Sunday off and probably won't test the hamstring until today or Tuesday in Kansas City.

"Within 48 hours," Scioscia said, "we should have a better idea of what direction this is going."

The Angels could have moved shortstop Erick Aybar to second to fill in for Figgins temporarily and used Brandon Wood at short, but Aybar has provided solid, and often spectacular, defense, and Scioscia "didn't want to mess with that right now."

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John Lackey made his third rehabilitation start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Sunday, giving up two earned runs and four hits, striking out four, walking one and hitting two batters in four innings against Lancaster.

Lackey threw 70 pitches, about five fewer than his target. The Angels ace is scheduled to make his last rehab start in an extended spring training game in Arizona on Friday so the Angels can better control his pitches per inning.

Barring a setback, Lackey will be folded into the Angels rotation on May 14 or 15 against the Chicago White Sox.

Second baseman Howie Kendrick, sidelined since April 14 because of a left hamstring strain, also played for Rancho on Sunday, collecting two hits in three at-bats in his first rehab game.

Kendrick, who was pulled for a pinch-runner in the bottom of the fifth, is scheduled to join the Angels today in Kansas City.

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Jered Weaver, who was 9-0 to open the 2006 season, and Aaron Sele, who was 7-0 to start 2004, are the only Angels pitchers with longer season-opening win streaks than Joe Saunders, who improved to 6-0 with Sunday's victory over Baltimore.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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