Angels miss lefty Oliver in bullpen
Scioscia says reliever was 'very, very important' to Halos
ARLINGTON -- Most of the talk on Monday centered on Rangers slugger Vladimir Guerrero facing his former team.
But manager Mike Scioscia pointed out that the Angels have missed another player currently on the Rangers' roster -- left-handed reliever Darren Oliver.
Oliver was a mainstay in the Angels' bullpen the past three years. Last season, he played a vital role, posting a 2.71 ERA in 63 games.
"As we've gotten off to a rough start and people talk about the guys that are missing, probably the guy that's as important as anything and gets the least amount of talk is D.O.," Scioscia said. "He was very, very important to our bullpen and filled a variety of roles. He's definitely a guy who has left some footprints in our bullpen that we're trying to fill."
Indeed, Oliver has pitched well so far for the Rangers, while the Angels have struggled. Oliver leads the Majors by stranding all 13 runners he has faced. The Angels' bullpen, on the other hand, has the highest ERA among American League teams at 5.30.
Still, Oliver has no regrets and enjoyed his time in Anaheim.
"I'm past that," Oliver said. "I can't say anything bad about the Angels. I enjoyed my time with them. It's part of the game. The first time I got traded I was bitter, but now I've been around and know how it works."
Halos activate Wilson; Napoli starts again
ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia didn't see any reason to give catcher Mike Napoli a day off.
After all, Napoli went 6-for-9 with three doubles in the past three games to help the Angels sweep the Athletics. That was simply enough for Scioscia to put Napoli in the lineup on Monday night against the Rangers, which would be Napoli's fourth consecutive game.
"Mike caught very well over the weekend and he's starting to swing the bat like we know he can," Scioscia said. "Mike felt really good and you can see it in his confidence of what he's doing behind the plate."
The reason the issue was raised was because the Angels activated catcher Bobby Wilson on Monday, optioning Ryan Budde back to Triple-A Salt Lake.
Wilson, who was sidelined after a concussion he suffered on April 23, played in five rehab games, going 5-for-12 with a home run and three RBIs.
And Scioscia isn't concerned about anything that might creep into Wilson's mind when he gets back behind the plate.
"I think Bobby is going to hang in there and make the plays when he has a chance," Scioscia said. "As a catcher, that's part of the territory. You need to get back on that horse, and I think he will."
In other catching news, Jeff Mathis, on the DL with a fractured right wrist, played catch and threw on Monday. Mathis is still seven to 10 days away from being able to get behind the plate and start throwing from the catching position.
"It's baby steps, but he's getting there," Scioscia said.
Scioscia not concerned about standings
ARLINGTON -- Despite being swept by the Toronto Blue Jays this past weekend, the Texas Rangers entered Monday night's game with a two-game lead in the American League West.
The Angels, who have won three consecutive AL West titles, were 2 1/2 games back.
But Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't paying too much attention to the standings right now. Instead, he's more concerned about the Angels righting the ship after getting off to a sluggish start.
"We've had enough on our plate to get our club to where we need to be, so there's not a lot of attention being spent on other clubs," Scioscia said. "I think we need to focus on our game. We know Texas is tough and we'll have to play at a high level to beat them, so that's what we're focused on."
ARLINGTON -- Before Monday night's game, the Angels scratched right fielder Bobby Abreu with back stiffness. Reggie Willits started in his place and hit ninth. Abreu, who homered on Sunday, has played in 38 of the Angels' 39 games so far this season, hitting .270 with 12 doubles, five home runs and 17 RBIs. ... Infielder Maicer Izturis, on the disabled list since May 8 with right shoulder inflammation, threw for the first time on Monday. He also ran the bases and took batting practice in the cage, but there's still no timetable on his return. ... In recent years, the Angels have become a trademark team for going from first to third on a consistent basis. This year, though, the Angels haven't been doing that as often and Scioscia knows it. As he said, "It's tough to go from first to third when you're not getting to first. Our on-base percentage has been real down, but I do think we have the team speed to go first to third."
Drew Davison is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.