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ANGELS FYI

Torii Hunter, Brian Fuentes make All-Star team

Chone Figgins is one of five candidates for the final roster spot, which will be determined by an Internet vote of fans.

July 06, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

Center fielder Torii Hunter and closer Brian Fuentes were named to the American League All-Star team Sunday, and third baseman Chone Figgins is one of five candidates for the final roster spot, which will be determined by an Internet vote of fans.

The July 14 game in St. Louis will be the third for Hunter, an eight-time Gold Glove Award winner who had a pair of doubles in Sunday's 9-6 win over the Orioles and is batting .304 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 63 runs batted in.

"I fooled you guys again?" Hunter joked. "I wasn't putting any pressure on myself to make the club. . . . If I didn't make it, I would have spent three days at home with my family, hanging out with my kids. Is that so bad? It's a win-win."

Hunter finished fourth among outfielders in fan voting but was picked on the ballot of players, coaches and managers. He could move into the starting lineup if Texas' Josh Hamilton is unable to return from a groin injury in time for the game.

Fuentes, who has a 3.38 earned-run average and a league-leading 24 saves, was selected by Tampa Bay Manager Joe Maddon. It will be the left-hander's fourth All-Star appearance; he made the National League team in 2005, 2006 and 2007.

"It doesn't get old," Fuentes said. "It's always an honor to go, especially after not going last year. You realize how special it is. It's not automatic."

With Minnesota's Joe Nathan, Boston's Jonathan Papelbon and New York's Mariano Rivera making the club, Fuentes will probably be used as a left-handed specialist.

"That's fine with me," Fuentes said. "With that much talent on the team, it's an honor to get in."

Figgins, who is batting .312 with a .390 on-base percentage, 61 runs, 16 doubles, five triples and 24 stolen bases, joins Detroit's Brandon Inge and Carlos Pena, Texas' Ian Kinsler and Toronto's Adam Lind on the ballot for the final roster spot.

Fans have until Thursday at 1 p.m. PDT to vote on mlb.com for one of the five players.

"I'm going to get on six different e-mail addresses and vote for Figgy," Hunter said. "What he's been doing is awesome."

Manager Mike Scioscia thought right-hander Jered Weaver, who is 8-3 with a 3.10 ERA, and left fielder Juan Rivera, who is batting .305 with 14 home runs and 48 RBIs, were deserving.

"Unfortunately, no matter how diligent you are in making selections, there will always be guys who are slighted," Scioscia said. "There are a lot of guys who are playing well who I'm sure were considered, but I feel good about Torii and Brian making it."

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Playing the field

Vladimir Guerrero made his first start of the season in right field Sunday after missing five weeks of April and May because of a torn right chest muscle and being relegated to designated hitter while recovering from the injury.

Scioscia said how often Guerrero plays the outfield will depend on how his arm and body respond and how he feels. It's doubtful Guerrero, who handled two fly balls without incident Sunday, will play the outfield on a regular basis for several weeks.

"He will probably feel a little stiffness after the game and [today]," Scioscia said. "But he got medical clearance, and he's ready to go."

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Planning ahead

The Angels will use Thursday's off day to skip Sean O'Sullivan's rotation spot. They sent O'Sullivan to Salt Lake on Saturday night so he could make two triple-A starts before rejoining the Angels' rotation after the All-Star break.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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ANGELS TONIGHT

VS. TEXAS

Where: Angel Stadium.

When: 7.

On the air: TV: Fox Sports West. Radio: 830, 980, 1330.

Pitchers: Jered Weaver vs. Kevin Millwood. Tuesday, 7 p.m. -- John Lackey (3-3, 4.70) vs. Vicente Padilla (6-4, 4.75); Wednesday, 7 p.m. -- Ervin Santana (1-4, 7.43) vs. Tommy Hunter (1-1, 3.18).

Update: Lost amid all the base-running blunders, an Angels comeback from a 7-1 deficit and Hank Blalock's walk-off two-run home run that gave the Rangers a 9-7 victory last Wednesday night in Texas was the fact that Weaver suffered his worst start of the season, giving up seven runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Millwood, the Rangers ace who ranks fifth in the league in ERA and second with 119 innings pitched, gave up four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings that night.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

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