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Notes: No delay for Molina

Notes: More time for Molina to heal

NEW YORK -- Bengie Molina would have played Saturday, but the postponement of Game 4 because of rain came at a good time nonetheless.

The Angels catcher hit his third home run of the series Friday, when he took Randy Johnson deep for a two-run shot in the top of the third inning. But in the seventh, Molina was hit on the left elbow by a pitch from Yankees reliever Tom Gordon.

X-rays were negative and the diagnosis is just a bruise, but Molina said it was still stiff Saturday morning.

"It is pretty sore right now," Molina said. "I haven't done any activity, baseball-wise, but I would have played."

Hitting would have presented a bigger problem than playing his position, he said, but despite Molina leading the offensive charge with a .455 batting average and five RBIs, getting behind the plate is a more critical role.

"Bengie's biggest contribution to our club, and even the games like he's had the last couple of games driving the ball, is the 140-150 pitches he'll call on a nightly basis," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's the biggest input any catcher has on a championship-caliber club, and he's no exception."

Molina tied Juan Rivera for third on the club in the regular season with 15 home runs, but offense is something he places second.

"I'm not a guy that is going to talk about hitting much," Molina said. "I'm seeing the ball pretty well. The only ball I didn't see is the one that hit me."

The day off will also help Vladimir Guerrero, who took a foul ball off his left foot, and Rivera, who took a foul ball off his left leg.

Silver lining: An added bonus to Saturday's rainout is it allowed the Angels to rest a bullpen that saw plenty of action Friday night.

Starter Paul Byrd was pulled after 3 2/3 innings and Scioscia turned to no fewer than four relievers to hold down a Yankees team that rallied from a 5-0 deficit.

Brendan Donnelly, Scot Shields and Francisco Rodriguez all pitched Friday but would have been available Saturday. Kelvim Escobar, though, who pitched two innings, would likely have been shut down for Game 4. The day off now restores the bullpen to full strength for Sunday.

"This day off is big for us," Scioscia said. "We would have played. I think we could have had guys that could have gone out there and given us some innings we needed. It will work for both clubs. I know in-house it's big for us."

Rainy day schedule: Saturday's postponement has moved Game 4 of the best-of-five ALDS to Sunday, with a first pitch at 5:15 p.m. PT (the FOX broadcast begins at 4:30). A fifth game, if necessary, would be back in Anaheim on Monday with a start time yet to be determined.

But that is if a reasonably dry weather window opens Sunday to allow the series to resume. The forecast calls for a 60 percent chance of rain Sunday, increasing to 80 percent Monday. Looking ahead, the first day projected without rain is Saturday, Oct. 15.

The ALCS is scheduled to begin Tuesday in Chicago.

"It is not going to be pleasant," Scioscia said. "If they put the game on at midnight, we would play it."

Advantage Sox: Neither the Yankees nor the Angels could claim an edge in Saturday's rainout, with both sides feeling it gives players some rest at the end of a long season while stealing a little momentum from the Angels and allowing the Yankees to regroup.

But with the White Sox at home for the weekend after clinching a spot in the ALCS by eliminating the Red Sox on Friday, manager Ozzie Guillen has the opportunity to set up his rotation while giving injuries some extra time to heal.

"The advantage is to the other teams that have finished playing already," Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher said. "They can sit at home and rest and get ready for the next round."

Dry swings: Hatcher was not overly concerned that his hitters put in any work Saturday, not after scoring 11 runs and pounding out 19 hits that included two home runs Friday night.

"There is nothing you can tell them at this time of year," Hatcher said. "If they haven't figured it out by now, we're in trouble."

Day off: There could be worse places to be forced to spend a day than New York City, but rain forced most activities indoors. Not a problem for many of the players, with a full slate of college football on television Saturday.

"I've got Nebraska on," Cornhuskers alumnus Darin Erstad said. "So, I'm set."

Most of the players did not even show up to the clubhouse when the second bus turned around and headed back to the team hotel upon hearing the game had been postponed. Hitting in the cages was an option, but most opted to recline.

"I won't do anything," Erstad said. "This time of year, you try and save your bullets."

Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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