6/22/2013 2:02 A.M. ET
Vargas could be out 4-6 weeks with blood clot
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Angels left-hander Jason Vargas was placed on the disabled list with a blood clot on Friday, with Jerome Williams taking his rotation spot to start Saturday's game and Billy Buckner called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to serve as a long reliever. Vargas' estimated recovery time is four to six weeks -- two weeks of inactivity after undergoing surgery to remove the clot, then another two to four weeks to rebuild arm strength -- but that is not yet solidified.
Vargas will seek a second opinion at UCLA Medical Center on Monday on the blood clot that resides in the armpit area just below his left arm. At that point, he'll decide whether to have surgery.
"I started to feel a difference in the way my [left] middle finger felt three or four days before my last start [on Monday]," Vargas said. "It didn't really affect anything; we just treated it as it was. It didn't really get a whole lot better, so we decided to take a look at it and found a blood clot in there. It's good that we got it recognized early."
Several pitchers have missed significant time due to blood clots. The Tigers' Jeremy Bonderman missed the last four months of the 2008 season after having surgery to correct a blood clot, then had further complications that delayed his return until June 2009. The Rockies' Aaron Cook had a blood clot that forced him to remove a rib and kept him out for about a year from 2004-05. And the Angels' own general manager, Jerry Dipoto, had a near-death experience with a blood clot that moved to his right wrist in 1998.
But Vargas' clot isn't deemed to be anywhere near that serious. Because they found it early, it hasn't spread and he likely won't require blood thinners to rehab from it. The Angels' medical staff believes it can be resolved "in a short amount of time," manager Mike Scioscia said.
How short, though, remains to be seen.
And the news is nonetheless a major blow to a starting rotation that ranks 21st in the Majors in ERA and already had to stomach the loss of ace Jered Weaver for seven weeks. Vargas, the American League Pitcher of the Month for May, is 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts.
"There's no doubt he can go and pitch with it right now if he had to," Scioscia said, "but along the lines of a person's well-being, and as further tests were done just to see what was causing the sensation he had, they discovered something there that needs to be addressed. He was throwing the ball great. But that's not the issue. His issue is trying to take care of this so he can keep going forward."
Hamilton out until at least Tuesday with sore wrist
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton will miss the weekend series against the Pirates because of a right wrist injury that flared up during an intense pregame hitting drill about 10 days ago.
Hamilton took a cortisone shot prior to Friday night's 5-2 Angels loss and expects to return for Tuesday's series opener in Detroit, which comes after a scheduled off-day. The right wrist was already a little sensitive due to a sprain he suffered in 2007, which forced him to miss a little over a month.
Hamilton is batting .171 in June and has a .207/.262/.378 slash line for the season. He stayed away from pregame activity on Friday and will do the same Saturday and Sunday.
Asked how much the wrist issue might have affected his hitting, Hamilton said: "Not as much initially getting to hit, as far as the hitting part. It's the deceleration or swing and miss. Yeah, I wish I could blame it on that."
Brad Hawpe started in Hamilton's place in right field on Friday, batting seventh.
Angels near deal with top-pick Green
ANAHEIM -- The Angels are close to signing their first selection in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, high school left-hander Hunter Green, for the slot value of $942,000.
The Angels, without a first-round pick due to the offseason signing of Josh Hamilton, took Green in the second round with the 59th-overall pick. Within the next few days, the 17-year-old Kentucky product is expected to fly to Southern California to sign his first professional contract.
Green, 6-foot-4 and lanky, was considered by many to be a first-round talent heading into the Draft, with a low-90s fastball, sharp curve, sinking changeup and 0.14 ERA as a senior at Warren East High School in Bowling Green.
Green, who turns 18 on July 12, posted a 1.66 ERA throughout his high school career, striking out 323 batters in 168 2/3 innings. He gave up a run in the first start of his senior season, then didn't allow another one the rest of the year, striking out 110 batters and walking 37 while en route to being the No. 1-ranked player in Kentucky's class of 2013 and getting a full scholarship to the University of Kentucky.
He'll start his career in the Angels' system as a starting pitcher and is expected to begin his pro career in the rookie-level Arizona League once he signs.
The Angels announced last week that they had signed 34 of their 39 Draft picks. Twenty-one of those selections were pitchers, including a club-record-tying seven in a row to start the Draft (also done in 1999).
• The Angels added a couple of notable names to their Minor League system in recent days. Outfielder Lou Montanez, the third-overall pick by the Cubs in 2000, was signed off independent ball and is in Double-A Arkansas. And reliever Mike Ekstrom, who appeared in 51 games in the Majors from 2008-12, was assigned to Triple-A Salt Lake after he opted out of his Minor League deal with the A's.
• Ryan Madson was hopeful of throwing off a mound this weekend, but those expectations proved to be too lofty. Madson still can't progress from throwing off flat ground, the pain in his surgically repaired right elbow still present, and there's no timetable for when he can throw his first bullpen session since mid-May.
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.