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ANGELS FYI

Lackey gets rare 'F' in loss to A's

September 17, 2008|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

OAKLAND -- On the day Manager Mike Scioscia essentially named him the Game 1 starter for the American League division series, John Lackey didn't pitch much like an ace Tuesday.

The right-hander gave up four runs and nine hits in 5 1/3 innings of an 8-1 loss to Oakland at McAfee Coliseum, Lackey's first loss to the A's since April 18, 2007, a span of five starts. He entered with a 14-3 career record and 2.67 earned-run average against Oakland.

The Angels took a 1-0 lead on Kendry Morales' fifth-inning home run, but Lackey, starting on nine days' rest, gave up a solo homer to Jack Hannahan -- the 18th home run Lackey has given up in 13 games -- and Mike Sweeney's RBI single in the bottom of the fifth.

The A's scored two more runs off Lackey in the sixth and three off struggling reliever Jason Bulger in the seventh.

"My arm felt great -- the rest definitely helped physically," Lackey said. "I just didn't locate very well."

Before the game, Scioscia said Lackey would make his next start Sunday, which would align him to start the playoff opener Oct. 1.

Ervin Santana will be folded back into the rotation Monday, making him the probable Game 2 starter.

Aybar returns

The Angels moved a step closer to becoming whole Tuesday when shortstop Erick Aybar, out since Aug. 28 because of a left hamstring strain, began what amounts to a major league rehabilitation assignment.

Aybar started and played three innings against the A's, Scioscia batting him leadoff so he would get two at-bats. Aybar struck out, flied to right and was involved in only one defensive play, tagging out Cliff Pennington on a third-inning stolen-base attempt.

Scioscia said Aybar, who ran at full speed before Tuesday's game, will play five or six innings in one of the Angels' next two games.

Running out of time

Second baseman Howie Kendrick, also out since Aug. 28 because of a left hamstring strain, suffered a minor setback Thursday when he felt "an irritation" in the tendon behind his left knee.

Kendrick was shut down over the weekend but resumed running at about 50%, Monday.

Scioscia said Kendrick won't play at all this week, leaving Kendrick only a handful of games in the final week -- if he returns to the lineup -- to prepare for the playoffs.

"I'll have to do a lot to get my timing, and I need to play in games to get it," said Kendrick, who has been hitting and throwing. "Hopefully, I'll get the job done when we need it."

On the mend

An MRI test on Vladimir Guerrero's irritated right knee and an examination by Lewis Yocum, team physician, on Monday showed no new damage, but the slugger sat out his third consecutive game Tuesday night.

Scioscia said Guerrero, who has "a little inflammation, a little wear and tear" in the knee, will play either today or Thursday.

Outfielder Juan Rivera, who sat out his second game because of tightness in his right hip flexor, is scheduled to take batting practice and run today and could play Thursday.

"The injury isn't serious," said Rivera, who has 12 homers since July 2. "I didn't pull the muscles. It just feels a little tight."

Short hops

Chone Figgins started at third base Tuesday for the first time since he was hit on the right elbow by a Carl Pavano fastball on Sept. 8 against the Yankees. . . . Bulger hurt his chances of making the playoff roster by walking three and hitting a batter in the seventh.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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