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Angels pitcher Jason Vargas placed on disabled list

Left-hander will get tests for a diagnosed blood clot under his left arm. Surgery may be a possibility.

June 21, 2013|By Kevin Baxter
  • Jason Vargas has been put on the 15-day disabled list while he undergoes tests on what has been diagnosed as a blood clot under his left arm.
Jason Vargas has been put on the 15-day disabled list while he undergoes… (Gail Burton / Associated…)

The Angels placed left-hander Jason Vargas on the disabled list Friday and said the pitcher will undergo further tests next week for what has been diagnosed as a blood clot under his left arm.

"You always want to keep pitching. But at the same time I'd rather not have a blood clot," said Vargas, who has won six of his last seven decisions. "If I was pitching and it came loose, then it could really cause some issues. So I'm definitely glad the staff recognized it and we got it taken care of and looked at."

Vargas is scheduled to be examined by a doctor at UCLA on Monday. The team will wait until then before determining treatment, but surgery appears a possibility, Manager Mike Scioscia said.

Vargas said he had some unusual feeling in his left hand before his last start but pitched Monday anyway, holding the Seattle Mariners to a run and four hits in seven innings, striking out a season-high nine batters. He also played catch Thursday without pain.

"There's no doubt he could go and pitch with it right now if he had to," Scioscia said. "But along the lines of a person's well-being — and as further tests were done just to see what is happening, what was causing the sensation he had — they discovered something there that needs to be addressed. So we'll see what happens."

Vargas said he was told that a blood clot below the arm is not unheard of for athletes who frequently use their arms above their heads, such as volleyball, tennis and water polo players.

The move to the DL for Vargas (6-4, 3.65 ERA) is retroactive to June 18. He has been replaced on the roster by right-hander Billy Buckner.

Right-hander Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.14) will take Vargas' spot in the rotation.

Hamilton seeks help

Moving Josh Hamilton to the seventh spot in the batting order three days ago didn't seem to help the outfielder break out of his season-long slump — he went 0 for 7 with three strikeouts in two games — so Scioscia moved him to the bench Friday, saying Hamilton needs to rest an aching right wrist.

"He's going to get an evaluation from doctors and see if there's any kind of medicine or something that can help it," said Scioscia, who added that Hamilton's problems at the plate probably had less to do with his wrist and more to do with "a rhythm and timing issue."

But Hamilton, who was hitting .207 with a team-high 76 strikeouts in 71 games, sought help of a different kind Friday, asking to meet with Pittsburgh Manager Clint Hurdle, the Rangers hitting coach in 2010 when Hamilton batted a career-best .359 and won the American League MVP award.

"I was able to develop a very professional relationship with Josh," said Hurdle, who accepted Hamilton's invitation. "It was a big season for him. He found his way. He found something that clicked, in June, and turned it on and never really turned it off."

Twitter: @kbaxter11

Times staff writer Helene Elliott contributed to this report.

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