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Angels are swept by Red Sox, 7-3

The team may have gone from a buyer to a seller after Joel Pineiro is injured during warmups. He is expected to be out six to eight weeks.

July 28, 2010|By Mike DiGiovanna

Those eight American League West championship flags flying above the outfield wall in Angel Stadium could have some company soon, only the next one raised might be white.

Three days after acquiring pitcher Dan Haren for an expected playoff push and three days before the nonwaiver trade deadline, the Angels might have gone from buyers to sellers on a potentially landscape-altering Wednesday afternoon.

Joel Pineiro, who won seven of his previous eight decisions, was scratched from Wednesday's start because of a left rib-cage strain, an injury the right-hander suffered while warming up in the bullpen.

During a 7-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox, the team announced that Pineiro would be out six to eight weeks, a major blow to its already fading playoff hopes.

With eight losses in 10 games, trailing Texas by 8 1/2 games in the AL West and little help on the horizon — Cubs first baseman Derrek Lee vetoed a trade to Anaheim last week — General Manager Tony Reagins acknowledged he would be open to trading veterans for prospects before Saturday's deadline.

"We would consider any move that would strengthen us, whether it's for this year or in future years," said Reagins, who met with Manager Mike Scioscia and his coaches for 45 minutes afterward. "You have to look at the deal and make a determination."

Among the veterans who might have value to contending teams are right fielder Bobby Abreu, left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes, designated hitter Hideki Matsui and infielder Maicer Izturis.

The Angels, who have won five of the last six American League West titles and are expected to make a strong push for outfielder Carl Crawford should he become a free agent this off-season, are not likely to trade players they consider part of their core for the next two or three years.

"There are some things we need to take hard looks at," Scioscia said. "We want to look at things that make us better now and in the future."

Neither Reagins nor Scioscia would concede to the Rangers, who will be in Anaheim for a three-game series starting Friday.

"Nobody around here feels we're out of it," Scioscia said, "but that's contingent on some things happening that lead to some continuity and consistency."

That will be more difficult without Pineiro, who was halfway through his pregame routine when he felt a twinge in his left side while throwing a curve. He stretched, threw one more pitch and shut himself down.

An MRI test confirmed an oblique strain. Pineiro, the team's most consistent starter since early June, was shocked when told he'd be out at least six weeks.

"My heart just dropped to the ground," Pineiro said. "I was like, 'There's no way, this has to be a mistake, it's just a cramp or muscle spasm.' They said I have a pretty good strain."

A bullpen-by-committee team of Scot Shields, Francisco Rodriguez and Rich Thompson limited Boston to three runs in seven innings, but setup man Fernando Rodney gave up two walks, a bunt single and a tiebreaking grand slam to Marco Scutaro in the eighth.

The Red Sox, who were 7-0 against the Angels this season, completed a three-game sweep, snapping the Angels' streak of 79 consecutive series without being swept at home, dating to a June 25-27, 2007 sweep at the hands of the Kansas City Royals.

It was the longest active home stretch since the 2003-2006 Atlanta Braves went 84 series without being swept, and it could have far-reaching implications for the Angels.

"When it rains, it pours," Pineiro said. "It stinks for me and the team."

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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