After Sunday’s victory over the Chicago White Sox, the Angels made it official when they recalled Chone Figgins from his rehabilitation assigment at Triple-A Salt Lake. Figgins fractured the tip of his index and middle fingers while fielding a ground ball in spring training. Brandon Wood, who recorded his first career hit Sunday with a single, was sent back to Salt Lake. Figgins is expected to start at third base Monday night against the Kansas City Royals.
Just checking the Chicago Sun-Times to get an update on the White Sox and according to good friend Joe Cowley (no, not the pitcher who threw a South Side no-hitter in 1986), the Angels’ opponent this weekend is a little banged up. (Note to the Tribune’s Dave Van Dyck: I checked out your stuff too, just wanted to give a plug to the Sun-Times. I’m sure you understand.) Anyway, back to the program, the White Sox’s Jim Thome is not likely to play tonight as he battles a rib injury. There seems to be uncertainty about Thome even playing at all this weekend. Jermaine Dye (back) and Rob Mackowiak (abdomen) also are hurting.
The Whie Sox were rained out Thursday so instead of Jon Garland starting tonight, it will be Jose Contreras. That would be the Contreras who closed out the 2005 ALCS with a victory at Angel Stadium. Mark Buehrle, who pitched a no-hitter on April 18 against the Texas Rangers, has been moved to Sunday and will pitch opposite Kelvim Escobar.
The Angels get another chance to see Darin Erstad, after two matchups against him this spring. It will be the first time Erstad has ever faced the Angels in a regular season game in his career. The veteran has eight hits in his last 21 at-bats with four RBI and three runs scored.
A day after an unprecidented three-walk game against the Detroit Tigers, Vladimir Guerrero is getting a chance to swing the bat and he’s doing some damage. The Tigers were able to pitch around Guerrero Monday night, but with Gary Matthews Jr. and Orlando Cabrera each with two hits in their first two at-bats, Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman had no place to put Guerrero today. So in his first two times to the plate, Guerrero has cracked singles with the second driving in two runs. Production from other places in the lineup was just what manager Mike Scioscia was looking for before the game began.
“We’re more than Vlad,” Scioscia said this morning. “Our offense has to be more than Vlad and I think we’re seeing Garret doing the things we need him to do. He’s starting to swing better. You’ve seen Gary, but the bats behind Vlad in particular Kotch, Hillenbrand. If they’re going to take one bat out of your lineup pitching around a guy we have to look at it as setting the table and we have to get after it and score runs. And we will. We have to make it so that if they don’t pitch to Vlad, we’re going to take advantage of it.”
Hold off on getting those Rancho Cucamonga Quakes tickets for Wednesday to see Chone Figgins begin his rehabilitation assignment. The Angels just announced that Figgins’ rehab will begin a day later on Thursday and he will head straight to Triple-A Salt Lake. No word on why the change was made, but manager Mike Scioscia did say Monday that if Figgins had any lingering soreness from an aggressive workout session, there might be a change of plans.