Vlad, Izturis good signs for Angels offense

With a home run today against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, all Vladimir Guerrero has done this series is hit a homer the last two games after getting four hits in the series opener. Maicer Izturis also has two hits, including the go-ahead RBI in the seventh inning and has now hit in 11 consecutive games and 16 of his last 18.

After a slow start, Guerrero is 11-for-24 this month (.458).

Gary Matthews Jr. also is heating up. He missed Tuesday’s game with what appears to have been food poisioning. But he hit a home run Wednesday and has a hit in his last eight games.

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Expect Figgins to return Friday

Chone Figgins’ rehab from a bum hamstring appears to be nearing an end. Manager Mike Scioscia said Figgins will be evaluated after tonight’s rehab game. In Scioscia-speak, that typically means the player will have one last evaluation before he is placed back on the active roster.

Shortstop Erick Aybar, out with a dislocated right pinky finger, is also nearing a return. He has already started hitting in the batting cage. When Aybar returns the Angels will have their regular infield for the first time since April 18 when Howie Kendrick went on the DL with his own hamstring issue.

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Figgins making progress

Chone Figgins, out with a hamstring problem, played in a minor-league rehab game Monday and appears to be on track for a possible return by the end of the homestand. Playing for Triple-A Salt Lake, Figgins had a five-inning day, going 1-for-3 with a run scored. His hit was a single.

Figgins has played in just one game since May 3 because of separate hamstring injuries.

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Angels recall reliever O'Day

Chris Bootcheck came out of Sunday’s defeat against the Oakland A’s with a sore elbow and would appear to be going on the disabled list, but the Angels have not made an official move as of yet. Bootcheck is going to have an MRI to see if his elbow issues are serious.

In the meantime, Darren O’Day was listed as a reliever available in the bullpen. O’Day was with the Angels at the start of the season but the sidearming right-hander was eventually sent back to Triple-A Salt Lake to work on a few mechanical issues.

UPDATE: Bootcheck is officially going on the DL with a strained right forearm. O’Day was activated to take his place, but as of 6 p.m. (one hour before game time), O’Day has not shown up in the locker room. His flight was supposed to land in Orange County at 5 p.m. Perhaps baggage claim or traffic is getting the best of him.

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Saunders on historic run

June is barely a few days old and Joe Saunders already has nine victories thanks to his outing against the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday night. The left-hander is closing in on one of the best opening three months in franchise history. Saunders is now 9-2 and is the first AL starter to nine victories. Here is how he matches up with other strong Angels pitching performances before the All-Star break:

Most wins at the All-Star Break by Angels

Bill Singer (1973) 15-5
Nolan Ryan (1977) 13-8
Mark Langston (1991) 12-3
Chuck Finley (1991) 12-4
Frank Tanana (1978) 12-5
Nolan Ryan (1979) 12-6
Frank Tanana (1977) 12-6
Clyde Wright (1970) 12-6
Nolan Ryan (1974) 12-9

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