07/02/11 3:30 AM ET
Angels will add payroll for right deal
By Jordan Garretson / MLB.com
- 131 wins
- 121 wins
Considering the Angels' recent surge -- they've won 11 of their last 15 games and six of their last seven -- maybe it shouldn't be come as a big surprise that they plan on being buyers at this year's deadline.There's been speculation that the Chicago Cubs will shop first baseman Carlos Pena, who might be a nice fit for the Halos. The 33-year-old has hit 17 home runs this season and would instantly add power to a lineup still wounded from the loss of Kendrys Morales. But after surveying the team's current look, slotting Pena to provide Los Angeles with a power upgrade might be counter-productive. Rookie first baseman Mark Trumbo leads the team in homers (13), so the arrival of Pena would likely requiring a juggling act at that position. Moving either of the two to designated hitter would be unlikely, as veteran Bobby Abreu has filled the role reliably virtually every day since Vernon Wells returned from injury. Trumbo has played right field in small spurts, but nine-time Gold Glover Torii Hunter isn't leaving the outfield anytime soon. Move Hunter back to his previous spot in center, and rising star Peter Bourjos -- an equally adept defender -- is out of a spot. Fortunately for the Angels, the front office has the entire month to find the appropriate piece to fit the puzzle.
Torii exits after getting plunked in hand
ANAHEIM -- Angels right fielder Torii Hunter left Friday's game against the Dodgers in the third inning after suffering a left hand contusion.Hunter was struck hard on the hand by a Hiroki Kuroda pitch in the second inning, but remained in the game until the beginning of the third. He was sent for precautionary X-rays, which came back negative, but manager Mike Scioscia said Hunter would also undergo a CT scan to be safe. "He's a little sore. ... We'll evaluate tomorrow and see what the doctors tell us." Scioscia said. The nine-time Gold Glover, who is hitting .239 on the season with eight home runs and 39 RBIs, ran into another injury -- literally -- just over a week ago. Hunter missed last weekend's series against the Dodgers in Los Angeles because of a bruised rib he suffered from hitting the outfield wall on a catch against the Marlins on June 22. He had played in all 76 of the Angels' games this season prior to that injury. Hunter was replaced in right field by Vernon Wells. Alberto Callaspo entered the game in Hunter's place, with the Angels slotting him at third base. Maicer Izturis moved from third to second, while Howard Kendrick went from second to Wells' spot in left.
Scioscia on verge of Interleague wins mark
ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia enters Friday's opener with the Dodgers one win away from tying the Interleague wins mark for a manager. He trails only Joe Torre's 131.Additionally, the Halos' Interleague record of 130-83 since he took over in 2000 is baseball's best over that span. While impressive to most, those accomplishments don't inspire so much as the batting of an eye lash from Scioscia. "I don't put much stock into that," he said. "It's a baseball game. Whether it's Interleague, intra-league, intra-division, whatever it is. We know what we need to do, and that's go out there and play a baseball game." Scioscia and the Angels haven't steered away from that track record this year, either. Almost all of the ground made up recently by Los Angeles has come at the expense of National League teams. In their last 16 games, the Angels have sliced their deficit in the American League West from six games to one, and 15 of those contests have come against the NL, in which they're 11-4. The 12th-year skipper credits the his teams' versatile makeup over the years for part of that Interleague success. "We've not been a typical AL team for a couple reasons -- one is we've never really had just a DH that couldn't go out there and play a position," Scioscia said. "So it wasn't like we were so handicapped going into a NL park. It never really affected our lineup too much, anyways." Conversely, Scioscia noted the adjustment some NL teams must make in tabbing a designated hitter when they visit AL parks -- a bat off the bench doesn't always slide into that spot as effectively as an everyday DH. "There might be an advantage there [for the AL], but as far as winning or losing, it really becomes cyclical because the players change so much," he said. "You just have to play good baseball to win no matter who you're playing against."
Scioscia, Valenzuela renew battery
ANAHEIM -- Mike Scioscia last caught Fernando Valenzuela on Sept. 30, 1990. On Friday night, the Angels' manager caught Valenzuela's ceremonial first pitch prior to the Freeway Series opener.Valenzuela is most known for his "Fernandomania"-inspiring days with the Dodgers in the 1980s, but also played for the Angels during the 1991 season. In Valenzuela's 17-year big league career, he won 173 games, recording 113 complete games and more than 2,000 strikeouts. He spent 11 of those seasons with the Dodgers, whom Scioscia spent all 13 of his Major League seasons with. Valenzuela made 239 starts with Scioscia as his starting catcher, going 104-87 with a 3.31 ERA in those games, including one no-hitter. When asked what he would do if Valenzuela shakes off his sign Friday, Scioscia smiled, "I'm going to walk off the field. ... No, I'll put down another sign like I always did."
Maicer Izturis returned to the Angels' starting lineup at third base on Friday. Izturis had missed the last two games with a sore right foot. He's hitting .320 in his last 20 contests. The Angels first-round Draft pick, C.J. Cron, is set for his professional debut Friday night. Cron, who is still nursing a labral tear in his right shoulder, will start as the designated hitter for the Orem Owlz, Los Angeles' Pioneer League affiliate. Cron said the injury only bothers him in the field. "When I have to make a throw, there's a sharp pain," Cron said. "Then it will go away." Cron was named an All-American in both his sophomore and junior seasons for Utah.
Jordan Garretson is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.