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ANGELS FYI

Angels to face Josh Beckett for first time since his April suspension

Red Sox ace had thrown at the head of Bobby Abreu, which led to a benches-clearing incident. But Abreu says, 'It's in the past.'

September 17, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

BOSTON — Bobby Abreu is not expecting any resumption of hostilities when he and the Angels face Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett tonight for the first time since April 12, the day Beckett sparked a benches-clearing incident by throwing at Abreu's head after time was called.

Abreu was backing out of the batter's box after umpire Paul Schreiber had called time when Beckett delivered the pitch.

When Abreu, arms at his side, called out to the pitcher to ask what was going on, Beckett walked menacingly toward the plate, and the Angels' bench and bullpen emptied. Angry words were exchanged, but no punches were thrown.

Beckett claimed he didn't hear the umpire call time and was "halfway through my delivery -- I'm not going to stop and possibly hurt myself."

Most pitchers in that situation either abort their delivery, lob the ball to the plate or the backstop, or they complete their motion without releasing the ball.

"What really bothered me is that he threw the ball right at me," Abreu said Wednesday. "You can throw the ball anywhere else, but not at the batter."

Bob Watson, vice president of on-field operations for Major League Baseball, obviously agreed, having given Beckett the worst of the disciplinary action, a six-game suspension.

"I forgot that even happened," Abreu said Wednesday. "That was early in the season. It was something that wasn't supposed to happen. It's in the past. I'm just going to keep doing my thing. I don't think it's going to be a big deal."

Freedom of speech

Manager Mike Scioscia said he had "no problem" with the postgame comments of pitcher John Lackey, who was critical of the Angels' offense in general and first baseman Kendry Morales in particular after Tuesday night's 4-1 loss to Boston.

Morales, whose overall defense has improved dramatically since the beginning of the season, failed to make a play on a sixth-inning bunt by the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury, bobbling the transfer from glove to throwing hand.

"He fielded it clean," Lackey said. "All he had to do was throw to first."

The play was ruled a hit.

"Give him a hit?" Lackey said. "Let's be serious."

On the next play, Lackey slipped while fielding Dustin Pedroia's bunt and bounced a throw past third baseman Chone Figgins for an error, allowing the Red Sox to score their first run.

"John has always spoken his mind," Scioscia said. "When a guy makes a great play, he'll say so. If a play should be made, he voices his opinion."

Lackey, it should be noted, said of his own error, "I admit I screwed mine up."

Said Scioscia: "When John makes a bad pitch, he's the first one to say so. There won't ever be a time when he doesn't speak his mind.

"He understands how hard guys play and the high level our defense plays."

Defensive indifference

The Angels, strong defensively throughout the season, have been uncharacteristically sloppy in September, committing 10 errors in 10 games before Wednesday night.

In at least three of those games, a 6-3 loss in Kansas City on Sept. 7, a 5-3 loss in New York on Monday night and Tuesday night's loss to the Red Sox, the miscues were costly.

"Some plays have gotten away from us, but we've also made a lot of terrific plays," Scioscia said. "There is not one common thread."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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