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Notes: Plenty in reserve
Notes: Plenty in reserve
By Mark Thoma
LOS ANGELES -- With Vladimir Guerrero on the disabled list and Garret Anderson and Steve Finley playing with minor injuries, the Angels' reserve outfielders are finding themselves thrust into a much larger role.
Juan Rivera started in right Saturday and Sunday in place of Guerrero, while Jeff DaVanon spelled Anderson in left Friday and Saturday. Joining the mix are Chone Figgins, who started in center Sunday, and Curtis Pride, who was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake to replace Guerrero on the roster.
"We're definitely going to have to mix and match more and maybe get into more of a little-ball look up top," manager Mike Scioscia said.
With Guerrero and Finley out of the lineup Sunday, Darin Erstad batted in the third spot for the first time this season, while Adam Kennedy moved to the No. 2 hole for the first time. Kennedy and Erstad have combined for two homers in 220 at-bats entering Sunday.
Rivera batted fifth Sunday for the second time in as many days, a move that reflects the confidence Scioscia has in the 6-foot-2, 205-pounder.
"Juan's a guy that has the potential to be a fine run producer," Scioscia said. "If he can keep that stroke that we've seen emerging in the last 20 at-bats he's had, he's gonna be key for us."
Rivera homered in his first at-bat on Sunday, leaving him 6-for-17 in the Angels' past six games with a double and three homers. DaVanon, meanwhile, was 5-for-14 in his last seven contests before Sunday, with four walks and a stolen base.
Pride, 36, batted .320 with nine doubles, three triples and six homers in 122 at-bats for Salt Lake, driving in 31 runs in 35 games. Pride has a .253 lifetime average with 12 triples and 19 homers in 758 Major League at-bats, including a 10-for-40 mark with the Angels last season.
"Curtis is a guy that's got a lot of versatility," Scioscia said. "If there are matchups that are right, we won't hesitate to use Curtis."
Anderson in; Finley, Molina out: Anderson, who's been recovering from a sore right hamstring, started in left field Sunday afternoon for the first time in three games, but Finley was given the day off because of a sore groin.
"As the day wore on [Saturday], he started to feel fatigued with it, and that's the point where you're at risk," Scioscia said. "We want to give him a day to rebound a little bit from it before we get him back out there."
Catcher Bengie Molina, who was on the disabled list with a quadriceps injury April 18-May 12, was held out of the starting lineup for the second consecutive game, but Scioscia expects Molina to start Monday.
"He's feeling a little bit of tightness in this quad," Scioscia said. "The doctors are pretty confident that it's just some scar tissue that's getting stretched out, and he should be in there [Monday]."
Chone Figgins / 2B
Weight: 155 lbs
Bats: S / Throws: R
Changeable Chone: In the last seven games, Figgins has seen time at center, left, third, short and second.
Scioscia likes having Figgins' speed in the lineup -- the utilityman was 15-for-17 on steal attempts after Sunday's successful try in the first inning -- and with the recent slew of injuries, Figgins' versatility has been put to the test.
"I just check the lineup, that's all I do," Figgins said. "Just be prepared for whatever."
Plate adventures: Interleague Play has given Angels pitchers the rare chance to flash their hitting skills, with mixed results. The staff was 0-for-5 entering Sunday's game, although Jarrod Washburn did walk and score a run.
"I'd prefer somebody who doesn't throw that hard," John Lackey quipped after going 0-for-2 Saturday against Brad Penny.
Scot Shields had his second career at-bat in the ninth inning Saturday -- against 2003 Cy Young Award winner Eric Gagne. Shields struck out without taking a swing and let out a breath of relief on his way back to the dugout.
"I understand why he's one of the best closers in the game," Shields said. "He almost made me fall down on the curveball."
On deck: The Angels begin a homestand on Monday. Ervin Santana (0-1, 13.50 ERA) will make his second Major League start against Major League win leader Jon Garland (8-0, 2.41 ERA) of the White Sox.
Mark Thoma is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.