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ANGELS FYI

To Erick Aybar and Angels, potential rewards are worth taking calculated risks on basepaths

Aybar was thrown out trying to stretch a double while carrying the potential winning run Thursday in eighth inning of an 11-inning loss. But he and Manager Mike Scioscia say team will stay aggressive.

April 22, 2011|By Lance Pugmire
  • Angels shortstop Erick Aybar is tagged out at third base by Boston's Jed Lowrie after trying to stretch out a double into a triple during the eighth inning of the Angels' 4-2 loss Thursday.
Angels shortstop Erick Aybar is tagged out at third base by Boston's… (Gary A. Vasquez / U.S. Presswire )

To Erick Aybar, getting thrown out at third base for the first out of the eighth inning in a tie game is like that schoolyard game where a kid fakes punching you.

Don't flinch.

Aybar didn't Friday as he discussed trying to stretch a double hit toward the right-field foul pole into a triple. He slowed ever so slightly rounding second and was tagged out on the left arm while diving after strong throws from Boston right fielder J.D. Drew to second baseman Dustin Pedroia and from Pedroia to third baseman Jed Lowrie.

It hurt to end up losing, 4-2, in 11 innings Thursday, but it's no reason to retreat from the team's nature.

"That's baseball," Aybar said. "I hit the ball to the line, and I'm thinking, 'If I get to third, we have a chance to win the game right here.'

"But that was last night, and today's a new day, and we're still going to be aggressive like we are every year. We don't want to go back from who we are. We're going to run those bases hard, and everybody here loves that."

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said the only thing that bothered him about Aybar's violation of a cardinal baseball sin was his decision to keep running to third after his hesitation.

"You should know and have to trust" whether you'll be safe or out, Scioscia said. "That aggressive nature has to be part of our club. We'll keep pushing it."

Roster move

The Angels put relief pitcher Scott Downs on the disabled list retroactive to April 13 because of a gastrointestinal ailment and recalled reliever Trevor Bell from triple-A Salt Lake.

The right-handed Bell, a Crescenta Valley High product, said he's watched closely as the Angels' bullpen has allowed only three of 21 inherited runners score, limiting the opposition to a .200 batting average and issuing 38 walks in 59 innings before Friday's game.

"The guys are putting together quality innings, getting ahead of hitters, getting ground balls, being aggressive and keeping the walks down," Bell said.

Bell was starting for Salt Lake, striking out 11 just two walks in 16 innings. He said starting helped him get "stretched out" after laboring a bit in spring training with a shoulder impingement.

Santana back in tune?

Scioscia said he'll be watching the fastball command of Saturday starter Ervin Santana (0-2, 5.26 earned-run average), who has been inconsistent in that area.

Santana has 19 strikeouts in 252/3 innings, but he's also getting hit too frequently, with 29 allowed.

"He's had a problem getting comfortable in his zone with the fastball and paid the price for it," Scioscia said.

Pirates claim Wood

The Pittsburgh Pirates put a waiver claim on former Angels prized infield prospect Brandon Wood on Friday, with Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle saying he was hopeful extended playing time at multiple positions could help "reignite" Wood's power.

Wood hit 150 home runs in the Angels' minor league system from 2004 to 2009 but has never carried over his power to the majors, hitting only 11 homers in 464 at-bats. The Angels designated Wood for assignment Tuesday.

"I figured he'd get picked up somewhere, it's a terrific opportunity for him," Scioscia said. "Young team . . . he can just go and play baseball."

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimespugmire

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