With Maicer Izturis on the disabled list and Erick Aybar possibly to follow, the Angels concede they might need to acquire a shortstop via trade or free agency.
"Hopefully, our injury situation isn't long-term," General Manager Tony Reagins said. "If it is, you'd probably have to look outside the organization."
Reagins said he has gotten "encouraging reports" on Aybar, who injured his left knee Monday. The Angels said Aybar had "meniscal damage" but would not say whether the cartilage was torn or whether the injury would require surgery. Manager Mike Scioscia said the Angels' medical staff had not mentioned a tear to him.
Aybar is scheduled to be evaluated Friday, when the Angels are expected to activate catcher Jeff Mathis. The Angels also designated outfielder Michael Ryan for assignment and recalled right-hander Sean O'Sullivan from triple-A Salt Lake.
They put Izturis on the disabled list Wednesday because of a strained left forearm, the eighth time he has been on the disabled list since joining the team in 2005.
Reagins said the Angels are aware of available shortstops but not yet pursuing any, pending medical updates on Aybar's progress.
"We're not at that point," Reagins said.
The Detroit Tigers released Adam Everett on Tuesday, so the Angels could sign him as a free agent. Shortstops available on the trade market could include Cesar Izturis of the Baltimore Orioles — Maicer's half-brother — as well as Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ryan Theriot of the Chicago Cubs and Omar Vizquel of the Chicago White Sox.
Brandon Wood started at shortstop Wednesday. The Angels once had so rich a surplus of middle infielders in their minor league system that they traded Alberto Callaspo for reliever Jason Bulger and Alexi Casilla for reliever J.C. Romero, then included Sean Rodriguez in the package for Scott Kazmir.
"We're not as deep there as we were in past years," Reagins said.
The Angels' triple-A shortstop is Gary Patchett, 31, who has 2,136 at-bats in the minors, none in the majors.
"There are candidates at triple-A that can do the job," Reagins said. "I don't think it's a long-term fix."
Aybar or Izturis had been the Angels' leadoff hitter in every game this season. With neither available, Scioscia selected Howie Kendrick to bat first, for the first time in his career, with Mike Napoli batting second.
"I think that's the way it came out of the hat," Scioscia joked.
Kendrick said he would not alter his approach.
"I'm not going up there looking to take a bunch of pitches or walk," he said.
Kendrick went 0 for 4. Napoli walked twice, singled and homered.
Tough it out
Trevor Reckling, regarded as the Angels' top pitching prospect, is 4-6 with a 7.99 earned-run average at Salt Lake. In his last six starts, he is 1-4 with a 12.65 ERA. In his last start, he gave up 11 runs in 3 1/3 innings.
In 65 innings, he has given up 90 hits, walked 48 and struck out 45. The Angels aren't about to give up on Reckling, who rocketed to the Pacific Coast League at 21.
"The numbers speak for themselves," Reagins said. "He needs to command the baseball, first and foremost. Once he irons out his command issues, we'll see what he is."
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