ANAHEIM -- It's water under the bridge at this point, but the principals from the Angels' side involved in Sunday's controversial play at home plate at Dodger Stadium hadn't entirely let it go by Monday.What made the game-turning call favoring the Dodgers' Dee Gordon so difficult to grasp in the aftermath of the 3-2 Angels' loss was that both center fielder Peter Bourjos and catcher Jeff Mathis handled the play about as adeptly as possible -- and the call that could have given the Angels a sweep went against them in spite of video evidence supporting their claims. "Pete put the throw right where it needed to be, in the perfect spot, and I thought I had him sealed off and made the tag before he got to the plate," Mathis said. "The umpire [Tom Hallion] saw it a different way. It's extremely frustrating when you feel like you do everything right and it goes against you." Bourjos, who made a whopping 10 assists in two months last season, is not having his strong, accurate arm challenged very often as a sophomore. Gordon's blinding speed took him right into Mathis, who had the ball in his glove before contact -- and before Gordon could slap the plate with a hand. "I just tried to get behind the ball, get it on line and let the umpire make the decision," Bourjos said. "The replay looked like he was out, but that's a tough call. He's the umpire, not me." Another replay, of Gordon stealing second base before the sacrifice fly by Aaron Miles, also indicated that he was tagged out. Shortstop Erick Aybar took Mathis' throw and appeared to get his glove on the runner before he reached the bag. "No point in worrying about it now," Mathis said, shrugging. "I thought 'E' did a great job with his foot blocking Gordon, but they thought he was safe. That's over. Time to move on."
Torii expected to return to lineup Tuesday
ANAHEIM -- Angels right fielder Torii Hunter passed his latest pregame test of his bruised rib before Monday night's series opener against the Nationals and is expected to be back in the lineup on Tuesday night, having missed four starts.Manager Mike Scioscia anticipated having Hunter available for late-game duty as a pinch-hitter or defensive replacement in the series opener. The Angels are kicking off a 13-game homestand heading into the All-Star break. "He had a workout today, and he feels great," Scioscia said of Hunter, who was injured driving his body into the wall at Florida making a sensational catch on Wednesday night against the Marlins. "If he comes out of it feeling no ill effects, he'll be in the lineup [Tuesday]. He's available tonight off the bench." Even though the Angels took two of three from the Dodgers without him and came within a controversial call of a sweep, Hunter is a guy you want in your lineup against National League teams. In 199 Interleague games, Hunter is batting .295 with a .355 on-base percentage and .544 slugging mark for an OPS (on base plus slugging) of .899. His career numbers in those categories are .273/.331/.467/.798, causing Hunter to jokingly say, "I guess I've been playing in the wrong league all these years."
Scioscia praises new Nationals skipper
ANAHEIM -- Mike Scioscia and Davey Johnson, the Nationals' new manager, spent a lot of time together 12 years ago at Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla.Scioscia, who will be in the home dugout directing the Angels against Johnson's team on Monday night at Angel Stadium, was getting ready in the spring of 1999 to manage the Triple-A Albuquerque affiliate of the Dodgers, whose manager was Johnson.
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
"He had some incredible insights that spring," Scioscia said of Johnson, who excelled as a Major League second baseman and as a World Series championship manager of the 1986 Mets. "He understands what's important, fundamentally. He was a great talent evaluator. And he was ahead of his time with computers, analysis, gathering statistics."I had a good experience with Davey in Spring Training in '99. This guy really knows the game." Scioscia didn't mention that he once broke Johnson's heart. It was Scioscia's momentous home run against the great Dwight Gooden at Shea Stadium that turned the 1988 National League Championship Series the Dodgers' way en route to their World Series title. As Johnson was meeting the media and Scioscia was holding court, the franchise they served together in 1999 also was very much in the news with disclosure of the Dodgers' filing for bankruptcy. "What's come out the last two or three weeks in this [story] has kind of numbed us to what's happened over there," Scioscia said, having just spent the weekend at his old home in Chavez Ravine. "When you look peripherally at it, yeah, it's shocking. "I think the atmosphere was there. I think anytime you're in that ballpark, you feel the atmosphere. The attendance wasn't quite what we're used to having there. It is what it is."
Wilson gets rare start catching Santana
ANAHEIM -- For only the sixth time this season, Bobby Wilson found his name on the Angels' lineup card at catcher for the series opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Angel Stadium.Wilson's start against left-hander John Lannan was not related to the spiked right thigh Jeff Mathis absorbed in blocking home plate on the controversial run scored by the Dodgers' Dee Gordon on Sunday at Dodger Stadium, tying the game in the ninth inning.
"It's fine," Mathis said. "It wouldn't keep me from playing."Wilson said he was "excited" about the opportunity to get behind the plate and catch Ervin Santana, adding, "I'm always ready to play. That's why I'm here, to stay ready for the call when it comes." The Angels are only 1-4 this season in Wilson's starts, but they were 18-11 with him behind the plate last season. Santana has a 3.98 ERA with Wilson catching this season, compared to 5.25 with Mathis. Those numbers for his career are closer for Santana: .4.11 in 12 games with Wilson, 3.89 in 74 games with Mathis. Santana's ERA with Hank Conger is 3.22.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.