Time running out to fill gap up middle
Angels facing Sunday night deadline; Eckstein rumored
ANAHEIM -- The arrival of Saturday and a looming deadline brought no further movement to the Angels' hopes of finding middle-infield help.
Injuries to Howie Kendrick, Maicer Izturis and Erick Aybar have raised the level of urgency within the ballclub to add depth, specifically at shortstop, and the team has a wish list of names it has targeted to fill the void.
That would include former fan favorite David Eckstein, Marco Scutaro and John McDonald from Toronto, along with Omar Vizquel of the Giants and Baltimore's Juan Castro, according to numerous published reports.
Angels general manager Tony Reagins said nothing had changed in their pursuit of an infielder since Friday.
"We still have 36 hours to get something done in that time frame," Reagins said. "We'll keep working at it up to that point."
Players acquired after 9 p.m. PT Sunday cannot be added to a team's playoff roster.
The upside to Vizquel is a resume that includes 11 Gold Glove Awards at shortstop and six trips to the postseason, including two World Series. But he's 41 and is hitting .187 in 203 at-bats this season.
Eckstein would certainly rekindle memories of 2002, when he was a part of the World Series champion Angels, and he added a second ring with the Cardinals in 2006. He's not considered as slick a fielder as McDonald, but he has the edge offensively, batting, 274 to McDonald's .218.
Scutaro would provide something the Angels value highly: versatility. The 32-year-old has played all four infield positions this season and left field.
Reagins said, though, any deal will not be simply reactionary. It has to make sense.
"I have to look out for the interests of the club. We're not going to do anything that will jeopardize our future," Reagins said. "We're going to make the best decisions for the club that we have on the field right now. It's a good club. I'm content to go to war with these guys."
Kendrick and Aybar both have strained left hamstrings and the club is hopeful they will be able to return within the next couple of weeks. Izturis is out for the season with a torn tendon in his left thumb.
The organization has been blessed with depth in the past and previously has handled similar situations in house, but solutions to this problem are already on the big club. Both Brandon Wood and Sean Rodriguez are currently with the Angels and were in Saturday's starting lineup.
The Angels will be able to expand their roster Sept.1 and the first group is expected to include two pitchers and a catcher from Triple-A Salt Lake. The most experienced shortstop currently with the Bees is Gary Patchett, who has played 45 games at short and another 48 at second base.
But a week of games remains for first-place Salt Lake and then the postseason.
"We have a pool of guys we're looking at. That will be narrowed in the next 48 hours," manager Mike Scioscia said, adding he's targeting bullpen help. "It is going to be the best fit as far as what we need. There are certainly needs we have and certainly some experience to be gained in going through the playoffs down in Triple-A, so it is going to be the best fit for all of us."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.