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Hunter braces for another hit

September 10, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

It's all over but the fines . . . and maybe the suspensions.

Torii Hunter is sure to take a financial hit for precipitating Monday night's benches-clearing incident with the New York Yankees, but as of game time Tuesday, the Angels hadn't heard whether their center fielder will be suspended by Major League Baseball.

"I'm not anticipating a suspension, but you never know how the league views it," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Sometimes, when an incident forces the benches to empty, the league takes action."

On that count, Hunter pleads guilty. Though catcher Ivan Rodriguez, after a mild sixth-inning collision with Hunter at the plate, threw a no-look elbow back at Hunter, it was Hunter who delivered the more lethal blow, a two-handed shove in the back.

"I started the altercation -- I'm a man about that," Hunter said. "I don't think I should get suspended, though. A fine would be OK."

Rodriguez was not in Tuesday night's lineup because of what Yankees Manager Joe Girardi called "whiplash." Rodriguez said his neck was sore, but his feelings weren't hurt. The players apologized to each other after Monday's game.

"Everything is over, everything is cool," Rodriguez said. "He's a nice guy who plays the game with a lot of intensity, the same way I play the game."

Shot in the arm

John Lackey came about as close as he ever has to confirming what has been reported and confirmed off the record by several members of the organization -- that he had a cortisone injection in his arm sometime before last year's division start against Boston. The ace gave up four runs and nine hits in six innings of a 4-0 loss.

"I'm not going to get into everything I was feeling last year," Lackey said. "Let's just say there were some things needed for me to get out there every five days. It's a long season, and when you throw more than 200 innings several years in a row, it adds up."

Lackey said there is one benefit to sitting out the first six weeks of this season because of triceps tendinitis -- he feels "a lot better now than I did this time last year."

Not-so-funny bone

Chone Figgins' right elbow, hit by a Carl Pavano fastball in the sixth inning Monday night, was too stiff for the Angels third baseman to start Tuesday.

Figgins came out of Monday's game in the eighth inning "because I couldn't throw to first base . . . and it's not like it's a short throw to first base," he said.

No X-rays were taken, and the injury is not expected to sideline Figgins for more than a day or two.

True story

When Kevin Jepsen recounts his big league debut, he may have to preface his tale by saying, "I swear, I'm not making this up."

All the Angels reliever did Monday was retire Derek Jeter, Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez in order in the eighth inning of a 12-1 victory.

"It was amazing, definitely something I'll remember," Jepsen said. "Those are some of the best hitters in the game. Knowing what they can do, it was definitely a good experience."


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