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Angels' Ervin Santana will start the playoffs in the bullpen

Angels will use a four-man rotation against Boston that includes John Lackey, who gets his final tuneup before the postseason in an 11-3 loss to Texas.

October 02, 2009|KEVIN BAXTER | ON THE ANGELS

Mike Scioscia says he hasn't settled on a postseason roster, but the contours of the Angels' pitching rotation for their first-round series with the Boston Red Sox appear to be taking shape.

Scioscia announced that right-hander Ervin Santana, who gave the Angels the division title Monday with a seven-hit shutout of the Texas Rangers, will start the playoffs in the bullpen.

Scioscia juggled his pitching staff to have John Lackey, Jered Weaver, Scott Kazmir and Joe Saunders start the final four regular-season games in that order, and that's likely to be the way they will pitch against Boston.

"We're going to use those guys in some combination, which is still being determined," Scioscia said. "We're not committing to anything. We can still tinker with it."

In his final tuneup before the playoffs, Lackey made just 40 pitches in the Angels' final home game of the regular season Thursday, giving up a two-run home run to Chris Davis in an 11-3 Rangers win.

Although Scioscia started six regulars including Lackey, by the sixth inning nine of the 10 players in the lineup were minor leaguers.

If Scioscia sticks with that rotation, the Angels would start two left-handers in Fenway Park, with its short left field. Kazmir and Saunders have had success there, with Kazmir going 2-0 with a 3.27 ERA in two starts for Tampa Bay this summer while Saunders is 3-0 with a 2.84 ERA lifetime in Boston.

"If you look at how those guys have fared, they've pitched very well there," Scioscia said. "So that would be an option we'll be looking at."

Right-hander Jose Arredondo, meanwhile, may have pitched himself out of consideration for a spot on the playoff roster by walking three consecutive batters in a two-run ninth. Arredondo missed the strike zone with 17 of his 28 pitches.

The Adenharts get a cut

The Angels had a players-only meeting Wednesday to determine how they will divide their playoff shares. Although that information is kept closely guarded until after the World Series, it was learned the team has voted a full share to the family of rookie pitcher Nick Adenhart, who was killed along with two friends when the car in which they were riding was struck by an alleged drunk driver after the third game of the season.

A full playoff share for the Angels last season was worth $32,022.38, and a full share for the World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies amounted to $351,504.48.

On the mend

Second baseman Howie Kendrick sat out his second consecutive game Thursday while undergoing treatment for a staph-like infection below his right knee. The infection developed after Kendrick tore open a scab sliding during Saturday's game with Oakland.

"We kind of caught it right at the beginning stages, so hopefully it will go away pretty soon," said Kendrick, who is taking antibiotics after receiving an injection during a doctor's visit Wednesday.

Dodgers rookie Xavier Paul was hospitalized with a staph infection that developed after he scraped a knee making a sliding catch during a May game in Miami. He wound up missing the rest of the season. However, Kendrick said he feels well enough to return to the lineup today.

"If it was up to me, I'd be ready to go," he said. "It's more being on the cautious side. We don't want anybody else to get it. So we're being a little more cautious right now."

Making up for lost time

Last year's playoff loss to the Red Sox was disappointing for everyone in the Angels' organization. But perhaps none felt it more deeply than Maicer Izturis, who missed the postseason after undergoing season-ending surgery on his left thumb in August.

"I was really sad. And a little frustrated," said Izturis, the team's opening-day shortstop last season. "I knew if I did my job I could have helped. Playing defense, running the bases. Something "

He will get the chance this fall. Izturis, who goes into the final weekend of the season having already played in a career-high 114 games -- establishing personal bests for batting (.300), home runs (8), runs (74) and RBIs (65) -- figures to play a lot against Boston.

"He has the potential to be very, very important to us, whatever his role is," Scioscia said. "There's a lot of things that Izzy does that are important to us."

Short hops

The Angels' three runs Thursday pushed their season total to 869, breaking the 30-year-old club record of 866. The Angels, who are hitting a baseball-best .285, are also on pace to break the franchise record for batting average. . . . Thursday's announced crowd of 38,552 brought the season attendance at Angel Stadium to 3,240,386. That's the lowest total since 2003, although it still ranks second, behind the Yankees, among American League clubs this season.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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