Vargas has blood clot; Hamilton nursing wrist issue
Angels left-handed starter Jason Vargas was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday because of a blood clot in his left armpit area. Billy Buckner was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake to take Vargas’ place on the roster and will serve as a swing man. Jerome Williams will start in Vargas’ spot on Saturday, opposite Francisco Liriano. And Vargas himself won’t pick up a baseball for a minimum of two weeks.
At 1 p.m. PT on Monday, he’ll see a doctor at UCLA to get a second opinion and ultimately determine whether or not he needs surgery.
“I started to feel a difference in the way my [left] middle finger felt three or four days before my last start [on Monday],” Vargas said. “It didn’t really affect anything; we just treated it as it was. It didn’t really get a whole lot better, so we decided to take a look at it and found a blood clot in there. It’s good that we got it recognized early.”
Blood clots, of course, can be scary. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it’s something the medical staff believes can be addressed “in a short amount of time.” How long, exactly? That’s still up in the air.
Vargas, who’s never previously had a blood clot, said the issue didn’t affect him in his last start, when he pitched seven innings of two-run ball in a win over the Mariners. He was playing catch on Thursday just fine when informed of the diagnosis.
On a starting rotation that ranks 21st in ERA, and has already seen Jered Weaver miss seven weeks because of a broken left elbow, Vargas had been the most productive member, going 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts.
“There’s no doubt he can go and pitch with it right now if he had to,” Scioscia said, “but along the lines of a person’s well-being, and as further tests were done just to see what was causing the sensation he had, they discovered something there that needs to be addressed. He was throwing the ball great. But that’s not the issue. His issue is trying to take care of this so he can keep going forward.”
Hamilton out with right wrist injury
Josh Hamilton was out of the starting lineup against right-hander Gerrit Cole because of what Scioscia said was a sore right wrist that has been bothering him “on and off” for “the last 10 days or so.” Hamilton will not start at all in this three-game series against the Pirates — though Scioscia said he’ll be available off the bench “in a limited capacity” — and the Angels will see how he feels coming off the Monday off-day.
Hamilton is batting .171/.200/.343 in June and .207/.262/.378 for the season. He’s been getting treatment on the wrist the last three or four days and originally tweaked it while swinging a bat, according to Scioscia.
Asked how much the wrist issue might have affected his hitting, Scioscia said: “It’s probably less any kind of a wrist issue that’s causing a mechanical issue and more of a rhythm and timing issue and a comfort level in the box.”