DETROIT -- Albert Pujols might be available to pinch-hit in "the right situation," but manager Mike Scioscia said the slugger will not be starting for the rest of the Angels' three-game set against the Tigers.
Pujols had hoped to return to the lineup for Saturday's contest against the Tigers. He took batting practice Friday for the first time since being removed from Wednesday's game in Boston with right calf inflammation and he appeared to be on track to face left-hander Drew Smyly.
Scioscia had come into the clubhouse to ask Pujols if he was OK and if he felt he could play at first base or serve as designated hitter. Pujols said either, but first had to test it out running at Comerica Park.
His first time running since the injury apparently did not go as planned. Scioscia and Pujols decided he would sit out until the club returns home Tuesday.
"It's not setting up well enough to where you're comfortable having him go play with a governor on, and we're going to take advantage of these two days and the off-day, and hopefully move forward and see where it is on Tuesday," Scioscia said.
The Angels are gaining ground on the last American League Wild Card spot. They've put together a four-game winning streak -- two and a half games without Pujols -- and enter Saturday's game three game behind the A's. So with the risk still there, neither Scioscia nor Pujols is going to rush him back.
"He can pinch-hit for us if it's the right situation, but the thing about what he's dealing with is it's not like your shoulder's stiff or your neck is tight and you want to get a blow," Scioscia said. "Hopefully give it a couple days, we'll get to the point where we're more comfortable playing with a little governor on and just not being at risk of missing what could be a big part of the season."
Torii: Rival Dodgers 'making statement' with trade
DETROIT -- Sixteen years in the league, and Angels outfielder Torii Hunter still hasn't seen it all.
"I can't believe this happened," said Hunter, referring to the blockbuster trade the Dodgers and the Red Sox completed Saturday. "It's always something in baseball, man. You think you seen it all and bam, something else happens."
As a veteran, Hunter has seen many unexpected blockbuster deals completed. But those were all before the Trade Deadline. He couldn't recall a deal like this completed through August waivers.
"It's probably one of the biggest deals I've ever seen outside the Trade Deadline," he said. "You just don't see those caliber players and that much talent and that many dollars after the Trade Deadline."
By acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Nick Punto and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox for prospects and salary relief, the Dodgers are taking on more than $260 million dollars in payroll.
The Dodgers are three games behind the Giants in the National League West and 1 1/2 games behind St. Louis for a Wild Card Spot. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the Dodgers are preparing a run.
"The Dodgers are definitely retooling from where they were in the beginning of the season," Scioscia said. "I think, obviously, as any team, you're going to do whatever you can to give yourself as much chance to reach all your goals."
Hunter said what they're also doing is sending a message out to their fans.
"They're going out there and spending money and letting the fans know, 'Hey, we're all about winning. And we're winning for years. Not just for next year. Not just this year.' They're trying to win for the next seven years," he said.
When the Clippers traded for Chris Paul -- especially after NBA Commissioner David Stern vetoed the original trade in which Paul went to the Lakers -- it sparked life into the Clippers-Lakers rivalry.
Hunter doesn't expect this to be quite as similar to that, but that's because he believes there already was a rivalry.
"It was before [the trade]," he said. "Every time we play those guys in our stadium or in their stadium, the red and blue was out. It was a lot of fun. They call it a rivalry then. But these guys are making a statement. They're trying to get it done.
"We did what we had to do this offseason with acquiring [ALbert] Pujols, C.J. [Wilson] and other players, and we got one of the best players in the country in Mike Trout. So these guys are trying to really prove a point and they're doing it."
Halos confident with Kendrick in three-hole
DETROIT -- With Albert Pujols missing another game with right calf inflammation, second baseman Howard Kendrick took his spot in the three-hole for the second time in three days and second time this season.
"We've hit him third before," manager Mike Scioscia said. "When you have a piece like [Pujols] out of the middle of your lineup, you have to move some things around."
Kendrick hit third in 22 games last season. And although he doesn't have the power numbers one might expect for a player hitting in the three-hole, he's been one of the team's most consistent hitters, especially turning it on in August.
Kendrick is hitting .338 with a .395 on-base percentage for the month. He has three straight multihit games and four RBis in that span, including driving in the team's only two runs on a double to left-center field Friday night.
"Howie is no doubt feeling more comfortable in the batter's box," Scioscia said. "There's no doubt he's hitting the ball harder and starting to drive the ball a little bit better like he can. It's an important piece to our offense."
The 29-year-old has hit six doubles -- his highest total in any month -- has 11 RBIs and 25 hits. He's also hitting .311 vs. lefties this season, which likely factored into Scioscia's decision.
Anthony Odoardi is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.