Figgins up, Wood sent down

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.

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Catching White Sox at right time

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.

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Vlad getting some pitches now

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.”

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Figgins plan altered

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.

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Escobar in; Murphy out

The Angels made it official after a 9-5 defeat to the Detroit Tigers: Tommy Murphy was optioned to Salt Lake to make room for Kelvim Escobar on the roster. Escobar will make his return from the 15-day DL Tuesday. He was sidlined with shoulder irritation but said he is completely healthy now. In fact, Escobar admitted that he wasn’t too thrilled with his time off and plans on pitching through minor pain in the future. Pretty sure management is not thrilled about that one.

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Escobar could displace Murphy

The Angels are leaning toward keeping 12 pitchers when Kelvim Escobar is activated Tuesday. That means the likely candidate to be sent down is rarely used backup outfielder Tommy Murphy. One reason for staying pitching heavy is the lingering soreness in Bartolo Colon’s right ankle. Colon’s foot rolled over while covering first base during his first start of the season Saturday.

He can feel it a little bit in his ankle but no worse than what he pitched with, manager Mike Scioscia said. We’ll see if he moves in the right direction. If we have to push (his Thursday start) back for a couple of days, that’s an option also.

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Fan learns painful lesson

They say to keep your eye on the ball, but this is rediculous. A fan sitting about 20 rows behind the Angels dugout just got drilled in the right eye by a Casey Kotchman line drive foul ball. Blood was everywhere and some fans did some on-the-spot first aid before paramedics arrived. To the male fan’s credit, he walked off under his own power, albeit with a compress over the eye as blood could be seen between his fingers. It’s amazing actually that you don’t see more serious injuries from foul balls. Safe to say that everybody on the third-base side will keep their head into the game now.

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Kendrick to disabled list

An MRI and CT Scan on Howie Kendrick’s left hand showed a non-displaced fracture on his third metacarpal and the second baseman was placed on the 15-day disabled list. Kendrick was hit by a pitch in Tuesday’s game against the Oakland Athletics. Vladimir Guerrero also was examined and his diagnosis of a contusion was confirmed. Guerrero could return to action as early as Friday.

The Angels will recall a player to replace Kendrick either Thursday or before Friday’s game. Since Robb Quinlan could take over at third base and Maicer Izturis can be moved to second, the Angels aren’t limited as to who they recall. In other words, they don’t just have to bring up an infielder. Brandon Wood is one of the candidates to join the Angels as are Kendry Morales and Terry Evans.

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Pizza thoughts delivered

Everybody at the four-letter sports network seemed to weight in Tuesday on the pizza-throwing incident at Boston on Monday. As Garret Anderson tracked a foul ball down the left-field line at Fenway Park, one Red Sox fan hurled a slice of pizza at another.
Manager Mike Scioscia said the fan who was hit should have been grateful it wasn’t a Chicago-style deep dish pizza.
I tell you what, if that was Gino’s East (in Chicago) that guy might have been arrested for assault with a deadly weapon, Scioscia said. Those things, man, you drop one on your toes, you’ll be in a cast.
Anderson, who was the closest player to the pizza incident admitted he never saw the pizza throwing actually take place. After he saw a replay, he was convinced the pizza was targeted for him, even though the thrower was quoted in a Boston paper as saying he intended to hit the fan.
I don’t know if I believe that because he could have thrown it any other time, Anderson said. If that’s what he said, that’s what he said. If I had to guess, I’d say he was throwing it at me. Why else would he throw it? Obviously he ordered it, he wanted to eat it.

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Guerrero X-rays negative

The Angels received a scare in the first inning when Vladimir Guerrero was hit by a Josh Beckett pitch on the right wrist. Guerrero left the game immediately and was relpaced by Reggie Willits. X-rays taken at Fenway Park were negative for any broken bones. He was diagnosed with a soft tissue contusion. There was no word on when Guerrero might be available to play next. An update should be available after the game.

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