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Bruised pinkie keeps Mike Trout out of Angels' starting lineup

Outfielder, who suffered the injury Sunday while sliding, has trouble gripping the bat, but X-rays prove negative. He pinch-runs in the eighth inning and stays in the game against Cleveland, and is expected to start Tuesday.

July 02, 2012|By Kevin Baxter

CLEVELAND — The last time the Angels were in Cleveland, Mike Trout made his season debut in the Angels lineup. His return Monday wasn't nearly as triumphant, with the newly minted All-Star being scratched from the starting lineup because of a bruised right pinkie.

Precautionary X-rays were negative and Trout, who hadn't missed a start since May 7, went in the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth inning and then played left field. He is likely to return to the starting lineup Tuesday.

Trout reportedly injured the finger sliding into second base in the first inning of Sunday's game in Toronto. He hit a tiebreaking home run later in that game, but Manager Mike Scioscia said the finger stiffened overnight and Trout had trouble gripping a bat during early batting practice in Cleveland.

On Monday, Trout was selected the American League rookie of the month for June after hitting .372 with three home runs, 16 runs batted in, 27 runs and 14 stolen bases in 26 games. He won the award in May, making him the first Angel to receive the honor twice in one season. Despite spending the first three weeks of the season in the minors, Trout leads big league rookies in runs, hits, average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Dan Haren is on the spot

After his fifth consecutive poor outing last week in Toronto, right-hander Dan Haren pledged he would be better in his next start. He'll get a chance to make good on that promise Tuesday against a Cleveland lineup that should be more to his liking.

The Indians started six left-handed batters and two switch hitters against Jered Weaver in the series opener Monday. Left-handed hitters are batting .241 against Haren this season, 99 points lower than right-handers.

"My stuff is fine. I'm just making mistakes in bad times. I've just got to try harder to get better," said Haren (6-7), who gave up 22 runs in 272/3 innings in June, yet still won three of five decisions.

Haren, who has been working with pitching coach Mike Butcher on making some adjustments, mechanical and otherwise, had one of his best games of the season in Cleveland in April, giving up only a run and four hits in eight innings.

Scioscia blamed Haren's recent struggles on a lack of command that has helped hitters predict how Haren will attack them.

"He has been behind the count far too often," Scioscia said. "And there's only so many ways to get back in the count. So when he's doing it so many times, hitters are obviously aware of some of the things he needs to do to get back into the count."

Short hops

Scioscia expects right-hander Jerome Williams to make his second minor league rehabilitation start as scheduled despite taking a line drive off his forearm Sunday. Williams went on the disabled list June 20 after experiencing breathing problems during a game against the San Francisco Giants. He is expected to pitch again Friday. ... Catcher Chris Iannetta, who has had his return from a wrist fracture slowed by a forearm strain, threw at a distance of about 80 feet Monday. If he has no pain, he will to repeat that workout Tuesday.

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