MRI shows cartilage damage to Aybar's knee

MRI shows cartilage damage to Aybar's knee

ANAHEIM -- An MRI on Erick Aybar Tuesday afternoon revealed left meniscal damage and his playing status will be re-evaluated on Friday, an Angels spokesman said during Tuesday night's game.

Aybar and the MRI were reviewed by team orthopedist Lewis Yocum after the shortstop hurt his left knee at second base Monday night at Angel Stadium on a play that involved a poor throw to him and a subsequent hard slide into him.

The injury was initially described as hyperextension. The meniscus is a piece of cartilage between the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone).

"There's still pain a little bit," said Aybar, who was walking gingerly with his knee taped in the clubhouse an hour before gametime on Tuesday. "Today I feel a lot better."

"We'll see how this thing sets up the next couple days with Erick," manager Mike Scioscia said after Tuesday night's loss to the Brewers. "I think of all the things that it could've been or you worry about, there's a possibility it's relatively mild and we can maybe see him in action at some point in the near future as opposed to some other things it could've been."

Scioscia said Yocum was optimistic and that the doctor had not mentioned surgery to him. That does not mean, though, that it has been ruled out.

First baseman Kevin Frandsen's poor throw caused Aybar's legs to fully extend and put him in an awkward position as the Brewers' Casey McGehee slid into Aybar and the base on a forceout in the seventh inning. Maicer Izturis started in Aybar's place Tuesday night, and Scioscia said Frandsen and Brandon Wood, who was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, could also see time at the position.

"We have Brandon Wood, who's obviously back on our roster who is definitely capable of playing shortstop at a level you would need," Scioscia said. "Kevin Frandsen has played it before. So we have enough depth there to see how Maicer holds up."

Aybar's bating .382 in June and has 12 hits in his past 27 at-bats. He batted just .253 in April and .235 in May. Izturis is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and is batting .232 on the season.

"Sometimes watching [Aybar] and looking at him you take for granted how durable he is, at what a high level he brings his defensive game every day and what that means to your whole infield, especially the support of your pitching staff," Scioscia said. "Erick's presence was becoming very real on our team especially the last two weeks."

The Brewers had a large lead -- 9-2 -- at the time McGehee made his hard slide in the seventh, but Scioscia said he didn't find anything wrong with the play.

"I think you play the game at the same pace," Scioscia said. "I really think that if you play the game aggressively you minimize risk of injury to yourself or other players ... That was an awkward throw that put Erick in a compromising position."

"That happens, it was a little high throw and a hard slide," Aybar said.

Aybar missed nearly a month in 2008 with a dislocated right pinkie finger, and missed about six weeks in 2007 with two injuries, one a strained left hamstring, the other another injury to his right hand. He played in 137 games last season.

Evan Drellich is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.