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Angels relievers Scott Downs and LaTroy Hawkins are injured

Hawkins suffers a broken finger while fielding a line drive by Toronto's Omar Vizquel. Downs appears to tweak a knee moments before while trying to avoid a line drive.

May 07, 2012|By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times
  • Angels first baseman Albert Pujols congratulates reliever LaTroy Hawkins (32) after their 4-3 victory over the Blue Jays on Sunday afternoon in Anaheim.
Angels first baseman Albert Pujols congratulates reliever LaTroy Hawkins… (Jeff Gross / Getty Images )

The bullpen, the Angels' weakest link, may have been weakened even further in the ninth inning Sunday when in the span of three pitches two relievers were injured by line drives.

First up was Scott Downs, who hasn't given up a run in 11 appearances this season. He appeared to tweak his left knee trying to avoid a single up the middle by Toronto's J.P. Arencibia and had to leave in favor of LaTroy Hawkins.

Then Hawkins, who has given up only one earned run in 10 games, saw Omar Vizquel line a shot that the pitcher caught, but not before the ball got a piece of the little finger on his pitching hand.

Hawkins doubled off the runner at first base to complete a game-ending double play, earning his first save since 2009. But Hawkins later tweeted a picture of the disfigured finger in a splint. X-rays, the pitcher said, showed the finger was broken.

Hawkins and Downs will be reevaluated Monday, Manager Mike Scioscia said.

"Right now, we're just trying to assess the injuries," Scioscia said. "We'll get a little more information and see if we have to make any moves."

Even with Downs and Hawkins the Angels' bullpen is the worst in the American League with an 0-6 record and a 4.68 earned-run average.

Chasing history

There have been 231 no-hitters in the major leagues since 1900. But only once did a pitcher throw one in consecutive starts, and it has been 74 years since Cincinnati's Johnny Vander Meer accomplished the feat.

The Angels' Jered Weaver has a chance to match that when he takes the mound in Minnesota on Monday. But the task will be made quite a bit tougher because he'll face the same Twins team he no-hit Wednesday.

"I would like to think the hitter has the advantage because they have just faced him," Twins catcher Ryan Doumit said. "He's probably going to try to attack you the way he did last time, especially if he had success against you, which Weaver obviously did. So it's a game of adjustments and we'll probably adjust according to that."

Weaver, perhaps throwing a feint at the Twins, agreed with Doumit.

"You go out there and attack guys the same way regardless of what happened the day before," he said. "Obviously, facing the same team twice in a row is kind of a hazard."

It has been 10 years since a pitcher made his first start after a no-hitter against the same team. And Tampa Bay was ready for its rematch with Boston's Derek Lowe, who didn't get past the fourth batter before giving up a hit.

Sitting it out

Center fielder Peter Bourjos started only once during the Angels' seven-game homestand and has only five at-bats since Mike Trout was promoted from the minor leagues April 28. But Scioscia continues to say Bourjos, who started 138 games last season, will get his chances.

"We didn't use Peter as much as we want. He's got to play to contribute. And he will," he said of Bourjos, who has two hits in his last 25 at-bats and is batting .180. "Minnesota's got a huge outfield and it will serve well to get him out there on the defensive side."

Times staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.

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