Aybar headed to DL with pinkie injury
Shortstop could miss up to four weeks; Angels activate Figgins
TORONTO -- Erick Aybar's optimism notwithstanding, the Angels could be without their gifted young shortstop for upwards of a month. Manager Mike Scioscia made the disclosure Wednesday as Aybar was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated right pinkie.
Aybar's spot on the 25-man roster was taken by Chone Figgins, who was back in the lineup, leading off and playing third base on Wednesday night after spending two weeks on the disabled list with a strained right hamstring.
Asked if two weeks would be enough time for the finger to heal, Aybar said: "One week. I want to be back playing."
Scioscia appreciates Aybar's desire to get back on the field, but the report he received indicated, "Erick's going to be out for a little while -- somewhere in the four-week range. That's a tough break for the kid. We're going to have to absorb it. Fortunately, he doesn't need surgery. Last night they finally got it in place. You could see when it happened that he was in pain.
"He refuses to acknowledge four weeks. He wants to play. With a dislocated finger, you never know. I've seen some guys not miss a beat, miss 10 days, and with some guys it's three or four weeks. It's varying degrees."
As Aybar's streak of 39 consecutive starts at shortstop ends, along with his spectacular run on the highlight shows, the job falls to Maicer Izturis. They were given equal shots at Orlando Cabrera's old job in Spring Training and both excelled, Izturis getting the nod on Opening Day.
Aybar, who took the job in mid-April and ran with it, sustained the injury diving for a ball on the Rogers Centre turf in the first inning of Tuesday night's 3-1 Angels victory over the Blue Jays.
Izturis, a natural shortstop, will be supported by rookie Sean Rodriguez. Figgins is backed at third by Robb Quinlan and Matt Brown and also supplies depth at second base, where Rodriguez has excelled defensively in the absence of Howard Kendrick.
On the DL since April 14, Kendrick is hoping to test his left hamstring strain with running drills soon, but there is no timetable for his return to the lineup.
"It's where we are, no sense getting frustrated over it," Scioscia said. "It's obviously disappointing when a guy like Erick is getting his feet on the ground and doing so well. Offensively, he's struggled the last few weeks, but he's done a great job for us. We just want to get him healed and to the level where he can perform again."
Aybar was examined by a hand specialist on Wednesday. He admitted to some soreness in the hand after the initial pain of the dislocation.
"Today it feels better," Aybar said. "Yesterday it was bad."
Asked if there was any ligament damage, Aybar shook his head.
Aybar is batting .270 in 43 games with 21 runs scored and 16 RBIs and has committed seven errors while making a succession of eye-popping plays. He had slumped to .213 in May after batting .318 in April, but his defense has remained first rate throughout the first two months.
Izturis, batting .216 after a recent surge, has committed two errors in 29 games, missing two weeks with back spasms. He opened the season at shortstop, moving to second when Kendrick was injured.
Aybar, 24, made two trips to the disabled list in 2007, for removal of the hook of the hamate in his right hand in July and for a strained left hamstring in August.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.