Angels stand pat at deadline; Houston Astros don’t.

The Angels did not consummate any deals in the final hours before baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline, but one of their division rivals made a significant move.

The Houston Astros traded starting pitcher Bud Norris to the Baltimore Orioles, reportedly receiving a pair of minor-leaguers, L.J. Hoes and Josh Hader, and a 2014 draft pick, in return.

That’s of significance to the Angels, who faced Norris four times this season and scored one run in 28 innings. Norris’ 0.36 earned-run average against the Angels was his best against any team he faced at least twice. The Angels are scheduled to play Houston six more times this year, but won’t face Norris’ Orioles until next season.

Yesterday, the Angels traded Alberto Callaspo to the Oakland A’s for minor-league infielder Grant Green. While they were rumored to have made infielders Erick Aybar and Howie Kendrick available to other teams, both players remained Angels through the non-waiver trade deadline at 1 p.m.

Teams can still make trades through August 31 if the players involved pass through the waiver system unclaimed.

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Daily Distractions: Ernesto Frieri’s tweet heard ’round the world.

It had 137 retweets and 57 favorites as of this writing. It was painful, accurate and popular. It was not the first instance of an Angels player speaking from the heart, but it was presented without filter, which is often the best way to present your thoughts:

You’ve got to hand it to Ernesto Frieri. He got our attention. On a day when the Angels hit three home runs, C.J. Wilson struck out 12 batters in 6 ⅓ innings, and the bullpen (which consisted entirely of Mark Lowe on Tuesday), the mood was still the same after a 7-6 loss to the Houston Astros. Frieri took time to write back several tweeters with a more uplifting tone. Even this guy:

Onto some bullet points:
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Daily Distractions: Jered Weaver’s new toy, Troy Percival, Bobby Abreu, etc.

Jered Weaver

Angels pitcher Jered Weaver is using a bone stimulator, which is not nearly as dirty as it sounds. (Still frame of video shot by ESPN)

Jered Weaver mentioned last week that he was using a non-intrusive device called a “bone stimulator” on his broken elbow.

Albert Pujols used one in 2011 to heal from a wrist fracture. That injury was supposed to knock him out 4-6 weeks. The recovery time was cut in half.

Dr. David Geier, an orthopaedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist in Charleston, South Carolina, told me the device has been in use for about 10 years and “there’s not a lot of great data for those.”

The mechanics are fairly simple, Geier said: It’s a black box that delivers a pulse to the affected area, either electronically or via ultrasound.

“The thought is, it stimulates bones to heal faster,” he said. “It won’t make you heal in two days when it could be three months, but if it gets you back a week faster, it’s worth the cost when you’re paying kids all this money. There’s not a lot of data, but there’s no downside to it at all. They tweak the ways energy is delivered, but the idea has been around for a while.”

A couple notes for a Tuesday morning:

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Albert Pujols is the Angels’ designated hitter in rubber game against the Houston Astros.

Albert Pujols flipped spots in a last-minute lineup change and will be the designated hitter for the Angels against the Houston Astros at Angel Stadium today. The Angels, who beat Houston last night on a walk-off double by Pujols, can win their first series of the season with a win today.

Here’s the lineup that will face right-hander Philip Humber:

Bourjos CF
Trout LF
Pujols DH
Hamilton RF
Trumbo 1B
Kendrick 2B
Conger C
Jimenez 3B
Romine SS

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Mike Scioscia on Josh Hamilton’s boneheaded double-up.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was asked, naturally, about the play that ended the Angels’ 5-0 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night.

Josh Hamilton was doubled off first base when he rounded second, and reached third base, after Mark Trumbo popped out in foul territory with one out. Astros catcher Jason Castro lobbed a throw from just in front of the Angels dugout to second baseman Jose Altuve, who was covering first base, for the rare 2-4 double play.

Was that a microcosm of everything that’s gone wrong in a 2-8 season?

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Daily Distractions: Astros already in the cellar, Kobayashi deal official, etc.

If there are 50 ways to leave your lover, there must be 50 more ways to put the Houston Astros’ paltry payroll in perspective.

Jed Lowrie recently signed a one-year, $2.4 million contract to become the team’s third-highest paid player (per Cots) and the fourth-highest if you include Phildelphia Phillies pitcher Wandy Rodriguez, who’s still owed a team-high $5 million by the Astros this season. On Monday Lowrie was traded to Oakland for Chris Carter and two minor-leaguers.

Yahoo now calculates that 20 players will make more money in 2013 than the entire Houston team, including Vernon Wells. A large payroll is no guarantee of success and a small payroll is no guarantee of failure. But FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal writes that the question is not where Houston will finish in its new division, but rather how many games it will lose en route to securing the top overall draft pick for the third straight year.

Welcome to the American League West, boys.

Onto the links …

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