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ANGELS FYI

Torii Hunter hopes to return next week

The center fielder's muscle strain has kept him out since July 8.

August 08, 2009|Jim Peltz

The Angels hope center fielder Torii Hunter can come off the disabled list late next week after a short rehabilitation stint in the minor leagues.

Hunter's injury -- a muscle strain on his inner right thigh -- has kept him on the disabled list since July 8, and it kept him out of the All-Star game last month.

But the 34-year-old Hunter, who was batting .305 when he was injured, had a "really aggressive workout" Friday and "ran very well," said Angels Manager Mike Scioscia.

"He's close," Scioscia said. "Hopefully he'll be ready for a rehab stint early next week and then ready to join us probably in Baltimore," where the Angels open a four-game series against the Orioles on Aug. 14.

Asked if Hunter would play with the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes for his rehab games, Scioscia replied, "Probably."

Hunter agreed that he hoped to play "sometime next week, maybe Wednesday or Thursday."

"I feel pretty good actually," he said, adding that he "ran the bases at 85%, 90%" on Friday. "I'm making progress."

But Hunter acknowledged that he's not well-suited to merely watching his teammates.

"I hadn't been on the disabled list in four years," he said. "This is the longest I've been out without breaking something. I'm going crazy right now."

Getting home

Angles leadoff hitter Chone Figgins entered Friday's game as the major league leader in runs scored with 87, an achievement the third baseman attributed to being aggressive and having potent hitters behind him in the lineup.

"First, it's about getting on base, then it's about creating situations for them to knock me in, whether it's being a threat on stolen bases or base hits going from first to third," said Figgins, who had 64 walks entering Friday's game, fourth highest in the American League.

"And then those guys are doing some clutch hitting.

"I try to knock in runs when I have a good opportunity, but my job, my ultimate goal is to score runs and as many as I can," Figgins said.

Texas heat

The Texas Rangers arrived for their three-game series in Anaheim with a new rookie relief pitcher, right-hander Neftali Feliz, who created some buzz with pitches clocked at 100 mph earlier this week.

Several Angels batters said they didn't know much about Feliz, 21, although they agreed 100-mph fastballs get their attention.

"That's pretty impressive," said Howie Kendrick, adding that he doesn't choke up on the bat, change his position in the batter's box or otherwise alter his hitting stroke to adapt to the speed.

"But the harder a guy throws, I think the more you have to relax, to be honest with you, and not necessarily speed yourself up," Kendrick said.

"The faster you try to become" with your swing "the later you're going to be on the ball," he said. "You can't change your game plan because the guy's throwing 100 mph."

Figgins, meanwhile, joked that Feliz's heat "means I have a chance to hit a home run if he's throwing that hard. I've just got to make contact and I might get lucky."

Short hops

The Angels signed draft pick Tyler Skaggs, a left-handed pitcher from Santa Monica High. . . . Bobby Abreu had driven in 61 runs in his last 60 games before Friday. Only two other Angels averaged at least one RBI per game over a 60-game span in the last decade: Garret Anderson (2007) and Vladimir Guerrero twice (2004, 2005).

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james.peltz@latimes.com

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