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ANGELS REPORT

Figgins on DL; infield gets thin

May 11, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Convinced that Chone Figgins' strained right hamstring would not allow him to play for at least another week, the Angels put the versatile infielder on the disabled list Saturday and recalled first baseman Kendry Morales from triple-A Salt Lake.

Figgins, who injured his hamstring sliding home against Baltimore eight days ago, was put on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 4. His absence leaves the Angels perilously short of middle infielders with opening-day shortstop Maicer Izturis and second baseman Howie Kendrick already out with injuries.

"He's making progress. But not enough to where you're going to project him to play any time next week," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Figgins, who tested his hamstring with some light running Saturday. "We need to reestablish some depth and get some of these guys back. But you can't rush this thing."

Although the Angels didn't make the transaction official until after Saturday's 2-0 loss to Tampa Bay, Scioscia decided to go ahead with the move when shortstop Erick Aybar, who had to come out of Friday's game after being hit by a pitch, showed up at the ballpark ready to play. So Morales, who was in the original lineup Salt Lake posted for its game Saturday, had his name removed 30 minutes later and raced to the airport to catch a flight to Florida.

Morales, who has driven in 15 runs in his last 12 triple-A games, has primarily been a first baseman and designated hitter since signing professionally. But he was versatile enough to play third base and both corner outfield spots -- and even top 90 mph as a teenage pitching prospect -- in his native Cuba, where he was a batting champion in the national league.

For Figgins, meanwhile, the frustration was obvious.

"I want to play," he said. "I always want to play."

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Kendrick, who had to call off a minor league rehab assignment after two games last week, is undergoing physical therapy in the hopes of loosening up his tight left hamstring.

"Hopefully we'll get some good news on him on Monday and see where he is," Scioscia said of Kendrick, whom the Angels had hoped to activate on the trip. "But it's tough to give a time frame with the nature of these things. You don't want to do anything now that's going to irritate [what] he's feeling and push it further back."

Kendrick has been on the disabled list since April 14.

Izturis, who is eligible to be activated Tuesday, had what Scioscia called "a great workout" Saturday and was expected to test his strained lower back in a rehab game with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Monday.

If he passes that test, Scioscia says he will rejoin the team on schedule.

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With hard-throwing left-hander Scott Kazmir on the mound for Tampa Bay, Scioscia held lefty-swinging Garret Anderson out of the starting lineup for the middle game of the three-game series.

However, Anderson, who is hitting only .154 against left-handers this season, came off the bench in the eighth inning to pinch-hit against right-hander Dan Wheeler, grounding out with the bases loaded.

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When Mike Napoli threw out Carl Crawford trying to steal in the third inning, he became the first catcher to get Crawford on the basepaths this season. Crawford, who also has been picked off once, stole third in the eighth, his 10th stolen base this season.

For Napoli, meanwhile, Crawford was only the fourth base stealer he has caught in 16 attempts.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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