Angels lose Calhoun to an ankle injury …

Angels right fielder and leadoff man Kole Calhoun twisted his right ankle after crossing first base on an 11th-inning groundout on Tuesday night and is headed to the 15-day disabled list, where he’ll join cleanup-hitting left fielder Josh Hamilton.

Leading off the bottom of the 11th of an eventual 10-9 loss to the A’s, Calhoun hit a grounder to second base and crossed first base just fine. But he caught his right foot on a soft spot just beyond the bag and had to be helped off the field.

“I just rolled it and it hurt real bad,” said Calhoun, who was on crutches postgame. “It’s just a freak thing, you know?”

Calhoun went 3-for-6 with a two-run homer and a key ninth-inning double as the Angels suffered back-to-back losses to their division rivals, and was 7-for-15 in his last three games.

In Triple-A Salt Lake, the Angels have left-handed-hitting outfielders Matt Long (.270 batting average so far this season) and Brennan Boesch (.250) they can call up. Each would have to be added to the 40-man roster, which is currently full. The Angels could also try to acquire versatile outfielder Sam Fuld, who was designated for assignment by the A’s on Saturday.

Asked about Angels manager Mike Scioscia saying he’ll be going on the DL, Calhoun said: ““It’s disappointing. Nothing’s solidified right now, but we’ll see what happens.”

Alden

Baylor could be back with team by April 28 …

Don BaylorAngels hitting coach Don Baylor is currently in physical therapy and manager Mike Scioscia is hopeful that he can rejoin the team when it returns from a three-city road trip, for the April 28 series opener against the Indians.

It’ll still be a while before Baylor can be in the dugout during games, and even longer before he can travel with the team. But Baylor, who suffered a fractured right femur while catching the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero on Opening Day, can at least work with hitters and attend pregame hitters before home games in about 13 days.

“Don’s a tough guy,” Scioscia said. “He’s anxious to get back. We’ve texted a lot. He’s in touch with [hitting coaches] Dave [Hansen] and Paul [Sorrento] on a daily basis. He’s still keeping tabs on everything that’s going on.”

Baylor was discharged from UCI Medical Center on April 4, three days post-op. Based on his initial prognosis, the 64-year-old is still at least three weeks away from being able to put weight on his right side, so he’d probably be getting around on a walker upon returning to Angel Stadium.

Scioscia said he doesn’t “anticipate Don back in full force for a while.”

“Even being here and being in the dugout, getting involved; I’m not sure when that’s going to be.”

Some other pregame notes from Jackie Robinson Day …

  • Scioscia did not back off from his statements (and Howie Kendrick‘s) from Monday night regarding the bang-bang play at first base in the ninth inning: “We said it last night and we looked at it again yesterday. I don’t know what angle they were looking at, but the way it’s explained to us is the ball has to hit the back of a fielder’s mitt before you stop the play to see where the runner’s foot is. And Howie’s foot is clearly on the bag before that ball hits the back of [Daric] Barton’s mitt.
  • Asked if he believes David Freese, dropped to seventh after striking out twice in each of his last two games, is putting added pressure on himself, Scioscia said: “We’ve had those conversations with David and we monitored them very quickly. He’s very calm on the baseball field and I think he understands that he can play better than he did last year. Coming to a new team, there might be an element of that. But I think he’s very comfortable with the teammates, he’s very comfortable with what his role was on the club, and hopefully he’ll start to hit stride and get the big hits that he’s capable of getting.”
  • It appears, though it’s unofficial yet, that Dane De La Rosa was reaclled from Triple-A Salt Lake so that he could be placed on the 15-day disabled list. Scioscia said the injury “is not significant” and that De La Rosa will continue in his throwing program. … Sean Burnett is playing catch again today and is expected to go to Arizona to throw off a mound in a few days. … And yes, Ernesto Frieri is still the closer.

Athletics (9-4)

John Jaso, C
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Brandon Moss, 1B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Alberto Callaspo, DH
Josh Reddick, RF
Craig Gentry, CF
Eric Sogard, 2B

SP: RH Dan Straily (1-1, 2.77 ERA)

Angels (6-7)

Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Raul Ibanez, DH
Howie Kendrick, 2B
J.B. Shuck, LF
David Freese, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS

SP: RH Garrett Richards (2-0, 0.75 ERA)

Alden

An encouraging outing for Hector Santiago …

Hector SantiagoHector Santiago‘s Angels career started off 0-2, with eight earned runs in 9 1/3 innings through two starts against the Mariners.

He needed a change.

So he took the mound against the A’s on Monday with his socks up high for the first time.

“You gotta change it up sometimes,” Santiago said, trying to crack a smile despite a crushing 3-2 loss. “Actually, it was kind of scary, because the last two times I did that with the White Sox it didn’t go so well.”

The more tangible difference was that Santiago had much better command in the opener of a three-game series, while pitching seven innings of one-run ball in what ended up being a no-decision because of John Jaso‘s two-run, ninth-inning homer off Ernesto Frieri. Against an A’s team that came in ranked third in the American League in walks, Santiago — with his career walk rate at 4.6 — didn’t issue a free pass until the seventh inning and didn’t allow much hard contact besides Yoenis Cespedes‘ fourth-inning solo homer.

Santiago felt “more in control of myself,” and that was particularly obvious while working out of jams in the sixth and seventh.

The Angels’ defense extended Santiago’s inning in the sixth, when Erick Aybar had a tough time reading Craig Gentry’s liner off the bat and Albert Pujols threw high of second on an ensuing pickoff. But Santiago got Jed Lowrie to line out and struck out Josh Donaldson for his third punchout. The A’s put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh, but Santiago induced a flyout of Nick Punto and came back from down 3-0 to get Josh Reddick to pop out behind the plate.

This was the kind of outing the 26-year-old left-hander badly needed.

“Definitely; there’s no doubt,” Santiago said after lowering his ERA from 7.71 to 4.96. “Coming into today I was like, ‘I need some positive [momentum] moving forward. [First start of the season], I was antsy, man. I had a lot of adrenaline going. First game as an Angel. Last game I think I was just like, ‘OK, forget about it and let’s attack. Let’s go at ‘em, let’s go as hard as I can as long as I can.’ Today I was like, ‘Let’s attack, but let’s be under control.’ I took a little bit from each of those first two games and made it work in this game.”

And for next game, the high socks will return.

“Oh, there’s no doubt,” Santiago said. “I’m going to stick with it until it tells me not to. … I love the look, you know. I love the look for sure. And sometimes you just have to mix it up.”

Alden

Hamilton can start swinging again by Friday …

joshAngels outfielder Josh Hamilton was back at the ballpark for the first time on Monday, three days after undergoing surgery on his left thumb that’s expected to keep him out 6-8 weeks.

Hamilton will have his stitches removed on Friday, while also getting the hard cast around his left thumb replaced with a removable splint. He can’t do any rehab with his finger until May 2, but he can start running, lifting, swinging off a tee with his bottom hand — the most important hand for a hitter — and “doing all the things I need to do to keep in shape” when he gets the stitches removed on Friday.

Hamilton, who got back to about 240 pounds over the offseason, isn’t concerned about losing muscle during his rehab, saying: “It’s only a week, and then I’ll get my stitches out and I’ll be able to start doing leg workouts and body workouts. You can do a lot of stuff without gripping a barbell, so I don’t see that being a problem.”

He won’t travel with the team in its upcoming three-city trip through Detroit, Washington and New York, and the Angels are planning to have Hamilton go to Arizona to do some baseball activities while they’re in Toronto from May 9-11.

“I’m not going to put a time frame on it,” Hamilton said of his recovery. “I’m just going to do what I need to do as far as listening to the doctor as far as keeping it stable for the first two or three weeks, and then after that, once they tell me it’s healed, I’ll start doing rehab and being aggressive with it.”

Hamilton suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament and also a torn capsule when he banged his left thumb into first base during a headfirst slide in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on Wednesday. It was a major loss for an Angels lineup that could be without its cleanup hitter and main power supply from the left slide until June. And it’s a major blow to Hamilton, who was named co-American League Player of the Week to start the season and was batting .444/.545/.741 through his first 33 plate appearances.

“I felt like my old self – my 2010, ’11, ’12 self,” Hamilton said in a press conference prior to the series opener against the A’s from Angel Stadium. “That’s why it’s my bummer, but there’s no reason why I can’t come back and still feel like that.”

Hamilton said he “reassessed” his headfirst slide as soon as he saw the replay, and in hindsight understands shouldn’t have done it. Asked if he’ll avoid sliding headfirst into first base moving forward, Hamilton, who has done it several times throughout his career, said: “I ain’t gonna make any promises.”

“What I’ve learned is no matter what you do, if something goes bad, you’re going to catch criticism,” Hamilton said. “When it goes good, no big deal. It just helps you guys write about a bunch of other stuff, so, you’re welcome.”

Some pregame notes …

  • Sean Burnett is with the team at home and was planning to play catch on Monday, after being shut down after his simulated game in Arizona on April 5. Burnett said he had some swelling around his left elbow that has since subsided. Nobody really knew the cause of it, but the lefty reliever plans to get off a mound again in a couple of days and doesn’t believe he’ll have to undergo surgery again.
  • David Freese (.458 OPS) started the season batting ahead of Howie Kendrick (.621), but over Freese’s last two starts — he sat on Sunday — Angels manager Mike Scioscia has flipped his two right-handed hitters. Asked what’s wrong with Freese, Scioscia said: “I think he’s trying to get comfortable in the box. There are some things I think he wants to get comfortable with in his stance to find some things and let him get to pitches easier. He’s working hard with Dave Hansen and Paul Sorrento on that. I think he just needs at-bats right now. But this guy’s going to hit. David’s going to hit.”
  • Kole Calhoun batted ninth on Saturday and fifth on Sunday, but he was right back in the leadoff spot against a right-hander on Monday, after his first multi-hit game of the season. My sense is Scioscia will hit Calhoun there against righties and Collin Cowgill at leadoff against lefties, at least for now.
  • On Dane De La Rosa, back in Triple-A after his velocity was surprisingly low in his 2014 debut on Saturday, Scioscia said he’s “getting evaluated on some medical things and having some tests.” “He feels good, he says he feels healthy, so I think you just want to explore why some of his velo is down,” Scioscia added. “Once he’s ready, I know he’s going to get right back on the horse. And Dane De La Rosa is going to be a big part of our bullpen. It’s just going to take a little more time.”

Athletics (8-4)

Craig Gentry, CF
Jed Lowrie, SS
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Yoenis Cespedes, LF
Derek Norris, C
Alberto Callaspo, DH
Nick Punto, 2B
Josh Reddick, RF
Daric Barton, 1B

SP: RHP Jesse Chavez (0-0, 1.38 ERA)

Angels (6-6)

Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Raul Ibanez, DH
Kendrick, 2B
Freese, 3B
J.B. Shuck, LF
Hank Conger, C
Erick Aybar, SS

SP: LHP Hector Santiago (0-2, 7.71 ERA)

Alden

Hamilton (left thumb) likely to be out 6-8 weeks

Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, one of the hottest hitters in baseball, is expected to have surgery on his left thumb that could put him on the shelf until June.

An MRI on Hamilton’s left thumb, which he injured while sliding headfirst into first base in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on Tuesday, revealed that he suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament along with a torn capsule.

Hamilton has already been told by the Angels’ medical staff that he will likely undergo surgery, which carries an estimated recovery time of 6-8 weeks, but it won’t be official until he meets with Dr. Steven Shin on Friday.

With Hamilton headed for the disabled list, outfielder J.B. Shuck has been recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake.

“The news sucks,” Hamilton said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Mariners. “Any time you play and you’re playing hard and you’re having fun, the last thing you want to do is do something that’s going to cost you to miss time and maybe hurts your team in the long run. If I could see a future, obviously I wouldn’t do it. But in the moment, when my mind and my body tells me to do something and react some way, I’ve always done it. That’s what I do. I can’t change that.”

Hamilton – delayed earlier in Spring Training with a strained left calf – was finally starting to display the tools that made him a five-time All-Star in Texas, entering Tuesday’s game with a .500 batting average, a couple of homers and a team-leading six walks.

But he banged his left thumb up against the first-base bag while trying to beat out a slow roller to shortstop, had a hard time throwing in the outfield, didn’t feel good while taking dry swings in the batting cage and asked Angels manager Mike Scioscia to pinch-hit for him with two on and none out in the ninth inning of an eventual 5-3 loss.

This is the first time he’s injured his thumb.

“When I got in the dugout, it didn’t feel like anything different than I’ve had before in terms of a jammed finger. When I went out to the outfield and gripped the ball and threw the first three 30 feet to the left of where I was aiming, that was an indication something might be wrong.”

Hamilton is confident he can pick up where he left off because the thumb injury allows him to continue to work out and even swing the bat one-handed. Injuring the left thumb, as opposed to the right thumb, is more ideal for a left-handed hitter, Hamilton noted.

“I don’t plan on being as far behind as people think I’ll be,” Hamilton said. “Everyone thought I’d be far behind in Spring Training without as many at-bats. It’ll be good.”

With Hamilton gone, I expect Collin Cowgill (RHH) and Shuck (LHH) to platoon at left field and leadoff, with Kole Calhoun sliding down in the order to give the middle of the lineup more pop. But I’ll know more when Scioscia talks pregame. Here are today’s lineups …

Angels (3-5)

Cowgill, LF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, DH
David Freese, 3B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Calhoun, RF
Chris Iannetta, C
Ian Stewart, 1B
Erick Aybar, SS

SP: RH Garrett Richards (1-0, 1.80 ERA)

Mariners (5-2)

Abraham Almonte, CF
Brad Miller, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Justin Smoak, 1B
Corey Hart, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Logan Morrison, RF
Dustin Ackley, LF
Mike Zunino, C

SP: LH Roenis Elias (0-0, 1.80 ERA)

Alden

Hamilton injures left thumb; X-rays negative …

Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton injured his left thumb while sliding headfirst into first base in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on Tuesday night, an injury that prevented him from batting in a crucial situation in the ninth.

X-rays on Hamilton’s thumb were negative, and he’ll have an MRI on Wednesday. Postgame, Hamilton had a sleeve on the thumb. Asked how it feels, he said, “It hurts.”

“We’ll keep our fingers crossed,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after a 5-3 loss to the Mariners, “but it’s swollen.”

Hamilton, who entered batting .500 with two homers and six walks, hit a grounder to shortstop in the seventh and was thrown out despite the headfirst slide. He played the field the next two innings, but when the Angels put the first two runners on against Fernando Rodney with a two-run deficit, Ian Stewart pinch-hit for Hamilton, eventually striking out.

“In the outfield, trying to throw the ball, I realized it was a little bit more severe than I thought it was,” Hamilton said. “I went down, took a couple dry swings and just didn’t have the capacity to go up there in that situation. So I told Sosh to send somebody else up there.”

Hamilton, who has never injured his left thumb, would frequently slide headfirst into first base, a dangerous play that hardly is a benefit to the runner. But until Tuesday, he said he’s never been injured on the play.

“Sometimes your instincts more than anything take over; the fun of the game,” Hamilton said. “I thought maybe when he was fielding the ball he had to go a little further than he did but he didn’t. I shouldn’t have done it, probably, but I’m not going to say I’m not going to do it again because I’d be lying.”

– Alden

Mike Scioscia is running out of lefties …

Mike SciosciaThe Angels have found out they’ll be without one of their situational lefties and now have no idea when they’ll get back the other.

Brian Moran, acquired in the Rule 5 Draft, is set to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery, the Angels announced early Tuesday afternoon. A few hours after that, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Sean Burnett, signed to a two-year, $8 million contract in December 2012, has been temporarily shut down from his throwing program.

Burnett was limited to 13 appearances last year and underwent elbow surgery in August. He threw in a simulated game at Angel Stadium on Wednesday, then pitched in another sim game in Arizona on Saturday, and hasn’t thrown since.

“It’s really going to be just day-to-day to see when he can pick it up,” Scioscia said. “He’s trying to get over the hump of some residual soreness that pops up here and there.”

With Moran undergoing a procedure that usually carries a 12-month recovery for pitchers, and Burnett’s status up in the air, the Angels are left with Nick Maronde (in the Majors), Buddy Boshers (Triple-A), Robert Carson (Triple-A) and Brandon Sisk (Double-A) as situational-lefty options for a lefty-heavy American League West. Jose Alvarez, acquired in exchange for infielder Andrew Romine during Spring Training, is starting in Triple-A but has worked out of the bullpen in the past.

On Burnett, Scioscia said: “I don’t think you’re at a point of writing anybody off, but there’s certainly a question right know of when he’s going to be back. You can’t count on him until he gets to be 100 percent, and he’s not there yet.”

Angels (3-4)

Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
David Freese, 3B
Josh Hamilton, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Raul Ibanez, DH
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS

SP: LH Hector Santiago (0-1, 7.20 ERA)

Mariners (4-2)

Abraham Almonte, CF
Brad Miller, SS
Robinson Cano, 2B
Justin Smoak, 1B
Corey Hart, DH
Kyle Seager, 3B
Stefen Romero, RF
Dustin Ackley, LF
Mike Zunino, C

SP: LH James Paxton (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Alden

Moran to have Tommy John, out for year …

Reliever Brian Moran is slated to undergo Tommy John surgery, a surgical procedure that typically carries a 12-month recovery, the Angels announced on Tuesday.

The Angels acquired Moran in the Rule 5 Draft this past December, with reasonable hope that he could be an important situational lefty in their bullpen and thus be the first Rule 5 pick to stick on their roster since Derrick Turnbow in 2000.

But Moran, 25, made only four appearances in Spring Training before feeling discomfort in his left elbow around mid-March. He began playing catch shortly thereafter, but was never able to take the next step and throw off a mound again.

In 2009, the Mariners – hosting the Angels for a two-game set starting Tuesday – drafted Moran in the seventh round. And in five years in their organization, the southpaw posted a 3.06 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and a 4.35 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while holding opposing lefties to a .594 OPS last season.

The Angels got him during the most recent Winter Meetings, in a pre-arranged deal with the Blue Jays.

Rule 5 picks must be offered back to their original teams if not on the active roster, unless they’re on the disabled list. The Angels can open up a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring Moran to the 60-day DL. But he’ll be with the organization all year, while merely rehabbing.

Alden

Scioscia: Feldman ‘was working slow’ …

Scott FeldmanAngels manager Mike Scioscia felt Astros starter Scott Feldman may have been taking a little too long between pitches while throwing seven innings of one-run ball against the Angels on Saturday, though he doesn’t believe his pace was ultimately an issue.

“He’s certainly more deliberate,” Scioscia said. “And the umpires were aware of it. I don’t think there was an issue. It seemed like there was a lot of miscommunication with the catcher, and we looked at the catcher and definitely he was shaking a lot of signs off.”

Rule 8.04 states that when bases are empty “the pitcher shall deliver the ball to the batter within 12 seconds after he receives the ball.” Each time the pitcher goes over the allotted time, a ball is supposed to be called.

That rule, however, is rarely enforced. And when guys are on base, pitchers can take as long as they’d like.

Chris Guccione, the home-plate umpire, he tried to keep it going as best he could,” Scioscia said. “I think you’re going to have those times. He was working slow, no doubt about it.”

The Angels have seen Feldman a lot from his time with the Rangers, from 2005-12, and know he’s among the pitchers who usually takes a while. C.J. Wilson, who starts Monday’s series finale for the Angels, is similar.

Did Feldman’s pace affect the Angels hitters in Saturday’s 7-4 loss?

“I think if guys let it become a distraction, it could,” Scioscia said. “But I don’t think it was an issue.”

Here’s the Angels lineup, with David Freese sitting against a tough right-hander …

Angels (2-4)

Kole Calhoun, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
Josh Hamilton, DH
Raul Ibanez, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Ian Stewart, 3B
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS

SP: LH Wilson (0-1, 9.53 ERA)

Astros (3-3)

Jonathan Villar, SS
Robbie Grossman, CF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Jason Castro, DH
Jesus Guzman, LF
Chris Carter, 1B
Matt Dominguez, 3B
Carlos Corporan, C
L.J. Hoes, RF

SP: RH Jarred Cosart (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Alden

Burnett ‘needs a little bit of work’ …

Sean Burnett, Mike SciosciaSean Burnett threw a second simulated game on Saturday and felt good coming out of it, “But he needs a little bit of work,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his rehabbing lefty reliever.

Burnett — recovering from August elbow surgery and coming off a season that was limited to 13 appearances — has been throwing bullpen sessions since March 13, though he had a minor setback due to a bad reaction to an arthritis shot on March 21. Saturday’s sim game, in Arizona, was his second, occurring three days after he threw his first at Angel Stadium, but he isn’t ready to venture out on a rehab assignment just yet.

“He needs to be in a controlled environment right now,” Scioscia said.

Asked if it’s realistic that Burnett can be back by the end of April, Scioscia said: “I think the next 10 days will give us a little bit better indication of what’s happening. He hasn’t gotten close enough to really make a call on how close he’s going to be and how long.”

Pior to Wednesday, the last time Burnett had even faced hitters was in a regular-season game on May 26 of last year.

“He really hasn’t done this basically for a year,” Scioscia said of Burnett, in the final guaranteed season of a two-year, $8 million contract. “You’re not going to all of a sudden feel good, throw a couple ‘pens and go out there and pitch in a game. There’s a progression, and right now he’s really going through what you’d hope would be Spring Training for him. So it’s going to take a little bit of time.”

Day game tomorrow, so Raul Ibanez and Kole Calhoun get a break against the left-hander, with Josh Hamilton sliding down to fifth …

Angels (1-3)

Collin Cowgill, RF
Mike Trout, CF
Albert Pujols, 1B
David Freese, DH
Hamilton, LF
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Chris Iannetta, C
Erick Aybar, SS
John McDonald, 3B

SP: LH Tyler Skaggs (0-0, -.– ERA)

Astros (2-2)

Jonathan Villar, SS
Robbie Grossman, CF
Jose Altuve, 2B
Jesus Guzman, LF
Chris Carter, 1B
Matt Dominguez, DH
L.J. Hoes, RF
Carlos Corporan, C
Marwin Gonzalez, 3B

SP: LH Dallas Keuchel (0-0, -.– ERA)

Alden

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