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Injured players improve

September 12, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

Manager Mike Scioscia is optimistic his injury-riddled lineup will soon be back at full strength, perhaps as early as next week.

Howie Kendrick and Erick Aybar ran harder Thursday than they have since going to the sidelines because of hamstring strains last month, and Mark Teixeira (infection) and Chone Figgins (elbow) could be cleared to play tonight.

"They looked very strong running," Scioscia said of Kendrick and Aybar, the team's double-play combination. "We're going to obviously pay a lot of attention to their rehab and where they are. [But] we're going to err on the side of caution with those two because of the nature of hamstrings and where we are right now with making the playoffs."

Because of that, Scioscia stopped short of any firm predictions for when either infielder would be back in the lineup.

"I don't know when it's going to be," he said. "But the way they ran today -- especially the way Erick ran -- I think there's a probability we're going to see them some time next week."

Teixeira, meanwhile, has sat out the last two games because of an infection but could be back at first base tonight, and third baseman Figgins, out since being hit by a pitch on his throwing elbow Monday, expects to play before the end of the homestand.

"I feel a lot better," said Teixeira, who has been taking antibiotics for an unexplained infection. "I feel really confident it's nothing major."

Also likely to return to the lineup tonight is center fielder Torii Hunter, who was suspended for two games.

She's not celebrating

When Erica Ford turned on her television Wednesday evening and saw the Angels spraying beer and champagne around their clubhouse in celebration of their division title, she figured Thursday would be a long day. That's because Ford washes and darns the team's uniforms and after cleaning up after three division-championship parties and a World Series celebration, she has learned those things can be messy.

"It usually takes a couple of washes to get [the champagne] out," said Ford, who was at Angel Stadium at 3 Thursday morning doing laundry.

The clubhouse staff also worked overtime putting the locker room back together and cleaning the champagne out of the carpet. Even the ceiling tiles will have to be replaced, but clubhouse manager Ken Higdon said that will have to wait until the off-season.

"We could have a couple of more celebrations in here," he said.

A bad tip

Plate umpire Eric Cooper dropped to his knees after being struck in the throat by a foul tip off the bat of Vladimir Guerrero in the first inning. But after being examined for several minutes by Angels trainer Ned Bergert, Cooper was able to stay in the game.


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