8/4/2013 5:17 P.M. ET
Scioscia praises Izturis' time with Angels
By William Boor / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Maicer Izturis' return to Angel Stadium has been met with a limited amount of fanfare, but manger Mike Scioscia fondly remembers the time Izturis spent here.
"Izzy was probably one of the most underrated players that we had here for a long time," Scioscia said. "I don't think anyone realized how steady he was at whatever position you put him and what a great at-bat he gives you in that batter's box."
Izturis, who played eight seasons with the Angels before signing a three-year contract with the Blue Jays last offseason, was 1-for-10 through the first three games of the series and was hitting just .239 this season.
During his tenure with the Angels, Izturis hit .276.
While Izturis provided the Angels with quality at-bats, his true value came in his ability to play various positions.
"The way he could play thee positions and be steady at all of them is important to a team," Scioscia said. "He helped us win countless games with his ability to play and play at a high level."
Bourjos, Vargas close to rehab assignments
ANAHEIM -- Nothing is ever certain when it comes to injuries, but the Angels are hopeful both left-hander Jason Vargas and center fielder Peter Bourjos will be ready for rehab assignments this week.
Vargas threw a 50-pitch simulated game Saturday, came out of it feeling strong and is tentatively scheduled to throw five innings and 75 pitches in a Minor League rehab assignment Thursday. The Angels have yet to determine where that will take place. Vargas has been on the disabled list since June 21 with a blood clot near his left armpit.
Meanwhile, Bourjos "is getting much more aggressive with his baseball activity," according to manager Mike Scioscia.
Bourjos progressed from dry swings to hitting off a tee to front toss and has now taken batting practice each of the past four days.
"I'm feeling pretty good," said Bourjos, who is recovering from a right wrist fracture on June 29. "Just trying to get into a game, not sure when it will be. Hopefully, this week."
He is not sure how long his rehab assignment would last but does not expect a lengthy one as he has kept himself in shape throughout the recovery process.
"I don't think it's going to be where I need a week of games, but you never know until you get there," Bourjos said. "I feel like I've stayed in shape. My legs are in shape, I've been doing my running since I got hurt and my core. It's more about just getting my timing."
Angels delivering clutch hits on recent surge
ANAHEIM -- The Angels' offense has been on a tear recently and much of the success can be attributed to the team's approach.
"We're doing a good job of situational hitting, we're moving runners when we have to and we're getting some clutch hits," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
A week is a small sample size, but the Angels hope it is foreshadowing a late-season run.
Over the past seven games entering Sunday, the Angels were hitting .303 and were 14-for-28 with runners in scoring position.
"When you put it all together, we may be a pesky offense," Scioscia said. "We may not be that dynamic right now, but the guys are hitting the baseball and occasionally they're driving it, too."
The Blue Jays' staff is certainly feeling the effects of the Angels' recent offensive surge over the past three games as none of their starters has pitched into the sixth inning.
On Thursday, the Angels knocked Josh Johnson out of the game after 2 1/3 innings, on Friday Todd Redmond lasted 3 2/3 innings and on Saturday it was Esmil Rogers who was pulled after five.
The Angels scored 17 runs in those 11 innings against Toronto's starters.
Veteran lefty Willis signed to Minor League deal
ANAHEIM -- The Angels signed veteran left-hander Dontrelle Willis to a Minor League contract, the team announced Sunday.
Willis, who will report to Triple-A Salt Lake, had been pitching for the Long Island Ducks -- an independent league team.
In nine big league seasons, split between the Marlins, Tigers, D-backs and Reds, Willis compiled a 72-69 record with a 4.17 ERA.
As a member of the Marlins in 2003, Willis was named the National League Rookie of the Year, but he has not pitched in the Majors since 2011.
Willis, 31, was an All-Star in the Atlantic League this season and posted a 2.56 ERA in his 14 starts with Long Island.
• Josh Hamilton was not in Sunday's starting lineup but was available off the bench as Scioscia wanted to give the outfielder some rest.
• Mike Trout has reached base in 34 consecutive games. Trout also had a 33-game streak earlier in the season and is the only player in Angels history to record two streaks of 33 games or more in one season.
• The Angels requested waivers on veteran outfielder Brad Hawpe -- who was designated for assignment last Monday -- for the purpose of granting him his unconditional release.
William Boor is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.