07/16/10 9:37 PM ET
Scioscia expects Matsui's bat to heat up
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
Matsui certainly got hot last season in the second half with a .284 batting average, 14 homers and 50 RBIs after the All-Star break en route to batting .274 with 28 homers and 90 RBIs in 142 games.
Matsui enters Friday's game batting .252 with 10 homers and 47 RBIs, but Scioscia expects him to improve on those stats moving forward.
"I think if you examine what Hideki has done at this point in the season, I don't think it's too far from what we'd expect his whole season to evolve into," Scioscia said. "I think he will be very productive in the second half, and I think once the season's over, he'll have numbers very comparable to what he did last year in New York. So that's important to us."
Izturis set to make first rehab appearance
ANAHEIM -- Infielder Maicer Izturis, who has been on the disabled list with a strained left forearm since June 16, took batting practice again Friday and is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance on Saturday with Triple-A Salt Lake.
Izturis is scheduled to play Saturday and Sunday in Salt Lake City against Triple-A Sacramento before being evaluated to see if he can join the Angels on their upcoming road trip that beings Tuesday in New York.
"He worked out today and is doing well," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "He'll be in Salt Lake tomorrow playing and we'll see how he goes over the weekend. We'll take it one step at a time."
Scioscia said the return of Izturis -- who can play second base, shortstop and third base -- will be key for the Angels down the stretch.
"I think Izzy playing to his potential is huge for us," Scioscia said. "We'll see how he is and when he's ready to play but he's a guy that maybe has flown under the radar but our staff and our players know what he means to us."
Rivera's vision checks out fine
ANAHEIM -- Left fielder Juan Rivera, who missed six consecutive games with stress-related blurred vision in early July, had a checkup with an eye doctor on Wednesday and was told everything was fine.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he has high expectations for Rivera moving forward this season now that he's past his eye problem -- as well as the fact that he's a career .298 hitter with an .827 OPS after the All-Star break.
"I think his first half he was underperforming what he can do," Scioscia said. "He has shown he's a better second-half hitter, so I think that'll be part of it. With Juan in particular, as the season moves along, he heats up and that's important."
Scioscia said first baseman Kendry Morales had his hard cast removed from his lower left leg last week, but that he will still miss the rest of the season with the injury he suffered while celebrating a walk-off grand slam on May 29. "He's not going to be here, so you have to move forward," Scioscia said. ... Reliever Jason Bulger, who has been on the disabled list since June 11 with a strained right shoulder, is "moving in the right direction," according to Scioscia, but there is still no timetable for his return. ... Mike Napoli started at first base on Friday a day after Paul McAnulty got the start on Thursday and went 2-for-4 with two singles and a run scored.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.