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ANGELS FYI

Torii Hunter, Vladimir Guerrero undergo MRI exams

Sore right groin may keep center fielder out of Tuesday's All-Star game, while right fielder Guerrero has a muscle strain behind his knee.

July 09, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

Torii Hunter and Vladimir Guerrero played the outfield together Tuesday night. They were together again Wednesday undergoing MRI tests at the Orange Imaging Center, not exactly the place the Angels want their Nos. 3 and 4 hitters to be hanging out.

Guerrero's visit was expected. The right fielder was pulled from Tuesday night's game in the eighth inning because of a muscle strain in the back of his left knee.

Hunter's visit was a surprise and a potentially more disturbing development for the Angels, who cannot afford to lose their All-Star center fielder who is batting .305 with a team-leading 17 home runs and 65 runs batted in.

But Hunter's right groin, which has been bothering him since he crashed into the Dodger Stadium wall to make a superb catch May 24, was so sore after Tuesday night's 8-5 loss to the Rangers that he was sent Wednesday for diagnostic tests.

"I'm not feeling good," said Hunter, who aggravated the injury crashing into the wall in San Francisco in mid-June and again while at the plate in Texas last week. "I've been battling something for over a month, and [Tuesday] I could not run. I hit into a double play I knew I could beat out."

Neither Guerrero nor Hunter started Wednesday night, and the results of their MRI tests were not immediately available.

Hunter is hoping his injury, which is in the abductor area, is a strain and not a pull, but he won't know until he gets his MRI results whether he will have to go on the disabled list for the first time since 2006.

"You could see as the game moved on [Tuesday] that something wasn't quite in sync," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He plays a demanding position with nicks and bruises as well as anyone. For him to say he couldn't play, it's significant."

Hunter, who has missed five games since June 3, said daily treatment and adrenaline have kept him going for six weeks.

"Adrenaline takes over a lot, trust me," Hunter said. "I try to tolerate pain, but I've been cruising, not running at full speed, and I hate that; that's not me. When I have to steal a base, adrenaline takes over. Afterward, that's when I feel it."

Hunter, named an All-Star reserve, probably will have to decide by Friday whether he can play in Tuesday's game in St. Louis.

"That's what hurts," Hunter said. "As of now, I'm going to play. It's hard to sit out the All-Star game when people voted for you, and it's your first time going as an Angel. I want to represent."

Fingers crossed

Scioscia said the fact that Guerrero's injury is in a muscle or tendon and not in the knee joint "is mildly reassuring, but we'll have to wait to see what direction this goes before feeling good about it.

"There's a lot in muscles and tendons that can set you back."

Guerrero, who underwent off-season surgery on his right knee and sat out five weeks of April and May because of a torn right chest muscle, was just beginning to find his power stroke, with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last five games.

Guerrero made only his second start in the outfield Tuesday when his knee buckled while fielding a single toward the gap. Could Guerrero have returned to the field too soon?

"He was ready," Scioscia said. "His workouts were much more aggressive than anything he did out there [Tuesday] night. We wouldn't have put him out there if he wasn't ready."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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