4/11/2013 4:02 A.M. ET
Angels offense struggling early with runners on base
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- The perception of the Angels heading into the season was that the offense was going to have to carry them. That's especially the case now, with Jered Weaver's injury crippling an already frail rotation and Garrett Richards' promotion thinning the back end of the bullpen.
But the offense hasn't really shown up yet.
The Angels went into Wednesday's game against the A's tied for 17th in the Majors in runs per game (4.1), tied for 15th in homers (eight) and 12th in OPS (.766), with cleanup hitter Josh Hamilton batting only .138 and homerless while the Angels have dropped five of their first seven games.
But the most eye-popping stat was this one: A batting average of .119 with runners in scoring position (7-for-59), last in the Majors.
"Some guys haven't been swinging the bat to their capabilities, and if you're not doing that, it's going to show up in pretty much every stat," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club also came into Wednesday with the fourth-most runners left on base. "We hit some balls hard with runners in scoring position, but for the most part we haven't hit our stride in that department. We are getting better at-bats, and I'm sure it's going to spill over into those other statistics."
X-rays negative but Aybar rests achy heel
ANAHEIM -- Erick Aybar's left heel was feeling very sore prior to Wednesday's game, with Angels manager Mike Scioscia proclaiming that he wouldn't have been able to play if it was the seventh game of the World Series and Aybar himself admitting that he was worried it could be a prolonged injury.
Postgame, though, X-rays came back negative and Scioscia said his switch-hitting shortstop is "walking much better."
Aybar won't play on Thursday and is still day to day, with a trip to the disabled list still a real possibility, but it was positive news nonetheless.
The Angels' No. 2 hitter hurt himself while lunging at first base to beat out an infield single to lead off the third inning Tuesday night, when his left heel landed awkwardly on the front part of the bag and prompted him to exit the game in pain. He was initially diagnosed with a contusion and had the area heavily taped the following day.
Right-handed-hitting Brendan Harris -- and not lefty-hitting Andrew Romine -- got the start at shortstop against A's southpaw Tommy Milone, and Alberto Callaspo took Aybar's place in the No. 2 spot.
"Erick's a tough kid, and when he's hurting and comes out of a game, you know it's significant," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said prior to the Angels' 11-5 loss. "We're just hopeful it's something that'll calm down here in the next couple days and we can get a read on it, but right now it's very sore."
Asked pregame if this can become a long-term injury, Scioscia said: "We'd just be guessing right now. We are going to have to take a couple days and see how it sets up. If it's not making significant progress, obviously then we will look at the DL."
Aybar, batting .321 to start the season, iced the area and used some anti-inflammatory cream, but it hasn't helped him much. He's walking cautiously on his own power, but may ask for crutches soon to take some pressure off his left foot.
"I want to play," said Aybar, who missed a couple of weeks in late July last year with a hairline fracture on his right big toe. "I want to help my team win. I don't like to leave the game. I like to be there the entire game with the guys."
Weaver to keep arm active while rehabbing left elbow
ANAHEIM -- Jered Weaver is no longer wearing a sling on his left arm and could start playing catch within the next few days.
The timeline for the right-hander's broken left elbow to heal -- four to six weeks -- hasn't changed, and Weaver will still have to build up his length upon returning from the disabled list, likely with a rehab assignment. But the Angels believe it'll be good to activate his right arm while he's rehabbing, so long as he doesn't really have to move his left one.
"He's definitely going to start throwing the ball here shortly," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's just activating the arm. He's going to have to do work to get back to where he was at some point, but this is just a thing that lets the arm continue to get blood flow. You don't want all these adhesions to start to form where you're going through another Spring Training."
Veteran slugger Hawpe signed to Minor League deal
ANAHEIM -- The Angels agreed to terms on a Minor League contract with veteran left-handed hitter Brad Hawpe on Wednesday.
Hawpe, a right fielder and first baseman, will report to extended spring workouts in Tempe, Ariz., for four or five days, then head to Triple-A Salt Lake. There, he'll essentially replace Kole Calhoun, who's expected to be out six weeks after undergoing surgery on Tuesday to repair a fractured hamate bone in his right wrist.
Hawpe, 33, last played in the Majors with the Padres in 2011 and has posted a .276/.368/.480 slash line in 893 games spanning eight seasons. With the Rockies from 2006-09, he hit .288 while averaging 25 homers and 93 RBIs per season.
But Hawpe had Tommy John surgery in late 2011, appeared in only 35 games for the Rangers' Double-A affiliate last year -- batting .260 with three homers -- and was granted an unconditional release from his Minor League deal with the Pirates in late March after batting only .139 and striking out 18 times in 36 at-bats.
• With a ground-rule double in Wednesday's fifth inning, Albert Pujols became the 35th player in history to reach 1,000 career extra-base hits. Pujols, who started at designated hitter for the third time in four games, went 4-for-4 and is batting .346 on the year.
• Veteran infielder Bill Hall, re-signed by the Angels to another Minor League deal, already has reported to extended spring workouts in Tempe, Ariz. But he's expected to be there longer than Brad Hawpe, after a quad and calf injury basically robbed him of a Spring Training.
• Ryan Madson's surgically repaired elbow felt good on Wednesday, one day after throwing a 30-pitch bullpen session at an estimated 80- to 90-percent intensity. The 32-year-old right-hander played catch pregame with a softball because the size helps him stay conscious of getting on top of the ball.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.