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Saunders will miss next start

September 22, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- All-star left-hander Joe Saunders, who leads the Angels with 16 wins, will miss his scheduled start Tuesday in Seattle after battling a kidney stone over the weekend.

"I've never had anything like this before," said Saunders, who was hospitalized briefly Friday night. "The pain I had the other night when I went to the hospital was the worst pain I've ever felt in my life."

Right-handers Jered Weaver and Jon Garland will have their starts moved up a day to fill the spot vacated by Saunders, leaving Dustin Moseley in line to make another spot start Thursday against the Mariners.

Saunders probably won't pitch again until the Angels' final regular-season game Sunday in Anaheim, but that would keep him on track to start Game 3 of the American League division series.

"We're going to hold him off and not pitch him just for the fact of we don't know where his condition is going to be," Scioscia said of Saunders, who shut out Oakland for seven innings his last time out. "We're anticipating he's going to be fine in a day or two but . . . he's a little bit weak right now. So it makes sense to move him out of his spot and let him work whenever he feels good."

Figgins returns

The Angels got another piece of their starting infield back when Chone Figgins started at third base Sunday, only the second time he has played in the field since being hit on the right arm by a Carl Pavano pitch two weeks ago.

"It's still got some little soreness in there," said Figgins, who singled and scored a run in four at-bats but never had a chance to test his bruised elbow throwing since the only balls hit his way during his seven innings in the field were a pop foul and a line drive, both of which he handled easily.

"I'm able to let it loose. That's a good thing," he added. "If I let it go, I'm not going to tear anything. I just want to get some ground balls."

Scioscia is hopeful second baseman Howie Kendrick and outfielder Juan Rivera, both sidelined with leg problems, will be available tonight in Seattle, giving them a week to get ready for the postseason.

"Every day, as we keep getting good news from these guys there's one less scenario you have to worry about," Scioscia said. "That's good. Guys that we need to be in there . . . are getting healthy and getting there."

Anderson heating up

Garret Anderson had two more hits Sunday, giving him nine in 13 at-bats for the weekend and raising his average for September to .422. Anderson closed strongly last season as well, hitting .305 after the All-Star break. But he says he doesn't want to be considered a second-half hitter.

"You can't really help when you do things," Anderson said. "I don't want to be known as no second-half guy. You might not get a chance in the first half."

And carrying his strong finish into the playoffs would help ease the bad memories of last October when, bothered by a severe eye infection, he managed just two hits as the Angels were swept by Boston in the divisional series.

"I don't worry about the postseason," Anderson said. "I'm just worrying about getting my next hit, having quality at-bats."


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