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Angels Fyi

Hunter says turf worsened groin injury

June 08, 2009|Bill Shaikin

DETROIT — Center fielder Torii Hunter, who leads the Angels in all three Triple Crown categories, did not play Sunday because of a nagging groin injury.

Hunter suffered the injury when he ran into the outfield wall at Dodger Stadium two weeks ago. He said he has experienced soreness ever since, but the discomfort was pronounced when the Angels played on Toronto's artificial turf last week.

"The turf is almost like a truth serum," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It has a way of bringing out every ache and pain that you have."

The Angels are in the midst of a trip in which they play six of nine games on turf. Hunter, who had not missed a start before this trip, sat out one game in Toronto and Sunday's game in Detroit. He'll probably sit out one of the three games when the Angels play at Tampa Bay this week, in another series on turf.

"Turf needs to be out of the game," Hunter said.

When the Minnesota Twins move into their new ballpark next season, the only turf fields left in the major leagues will be those in Toronto and Tampa Bay.

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Power shortage

The Angels rank last in the American League in home runs. When Chone Figgins and Juan Rivera homered in the first inning Sunday, it marked the first time the Angels had hit two home runs in an inning since April 29 and the first time they had hit two home runs in a game since May 26.

"You have to play the style your team can play," Scioscia said. "But there's power potential on this team that has yet to surface, and it will. We're comfortable we're going to drive the ball as we get into the teeth of the season."

With Hunter and catcher Mike Napoli not starting Sunday, the Angels' lineup entered play with a total of 22 home runs. The Tigers' starting lineup had a total of 44.

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Power surge

With a home run Sunday, Sean Rodriguez became the first player in minor league baseball to hit 20 home runs this season.

Rodriguez, 24, the second baseman at triple-A Salt Lake, is batting .280 with a .361 on-base percentage and a 1.012 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage). He is striking out once for every three at-bats.

"His strikeouts are a little bit high, but he's having a very productive year," Scioscia said. "There's some things young players need to work on. With experience, that gap will narrow.

"Brandon Wood has made a lot of progress there. Sean can tighten some things up. If you're going to have a high strikeout rate, you can balance that with walks and power. I think that's what you're seeing Sean do."

Rodriguez made his major league debut with the Angels last season. In 167 at-bats, he hit three home runs and struck out 55 times.

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Take a bow

Outfielder Bobby Abreu doubled in the first inning for his 2,000th career hit. He's the fifth Venezuelan player to hit that milestone, following Luis Aparicio (2,677), Omar Vizquel (2,676), Andres Galarraga (2,333) and Dave Concepcion (2,326).

"It is a privilege and an honor to share the mark with these legendary players," Abreu said in a statement prepared by his publicist in advance.

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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