McPherson lost nearly all of last spring with a lower back strain. His injuries have been less severe this spring, but dermatitis and a right oblique strain still robbed him of some playing time. McPherson said he's made up for lost time during camp, though, by playing in Minor League games, and he also said he is performing better than his .160 average in 11 games might indicate.
"I've hit a couple of home runs down there," said McPherson, who had an RBI single on Thursday. "I'm putting good swings on the ball. I'm putting some balls in play and the rest will take care of itself. There are a lot of guys that have had bad springs. Are you going to base my swing on 21 at-bats?"
Heading into camp, McPherson had been considered as an option at designated hitter, but the play of Tim Salmon and Kendry Morales, and the versatility of Robb Quinlan combined with McPherson's slow start at the plate has pushed him down the depth chart.
Not yet: Garret Anderson was out of action again Thursday, marking his 16th day out of the lineup. The left fielder has been sidelined by a strain of the plantar fascia in his left foot, the connective tissue that encapsulates muscles along the bottom of the foot.
Anderson has been taking batting practice and is swinging freely. He also has been running the bases at near full speed. If he continues to progress as he has, the Angels project him into the lineup, possibly as the DH, on Saturday.
Time is becoming an issue, though. If Anderson plays Saturday, he could appear in as many as 10 games, but that seems unlikely. The Angels feel he could find his swing in less time and still be ready to open the regular season.
"If we're sitting on six at-bats next week, we will have to look at some things," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Garret does not need a lot of time. If he can start tracking pitches and doing what he needs to do at 20-25 at-bats, [he should be fine]."
Scioscia said the schedule could work in their favor with two off-days in the first two weeks of the season. Opening the season on the disabled list also remains a possibility for Anderson.
Minor struggles: Ervin Santana was around the plate Thursday, but the patient A's were able to put the ball in play. The right-hander allowed five runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out five over five innings.
"I got beat, but with my good stuff," Santana said. "Sometimes you have bad stuff and pitch a good game and sometimes you have good stuff and have a bad game."
It was Santana's fifth start of the spring and the second straight in which he's struggled. The A's won in 10 innings, 6-5.
Getting work: Bartolo Colon will pitch in a Minor League game Friday and throw about 90 pitches, which will allow the club to monitor his progress more closely.
"It is a controlled environment," Scioscia said. "We can get into the pace that he needs."
Improved: Catcher Jeff Mathis is taking batting practice and will catch Colon on Friday. Mathis was hit on the left hand by a pitch on Monday, but X-rays were negative. He also participated in pitchers' fielding practice drills Thursday and caught the 10th inning. ... Darin Erstad got at-bats in a Minor League game.
Still open: The Angels will likely break camp with an 11-man pitching staff. Esteban Yan remains the leading candidate for the last spot in the bullpen, with Kevin Gregg also figuring in the mix, but Chris Bootcheck is putting in a bid with a strong camp.
"Boot is on our depth chart to start, but he has a more realistic chance to help us out of the bullpen," Scioscia said.
The right-hander turned in another scoreless inning Wednesday to lower his spring ERA to 0.90 in six appearances. The Angels also like what they see out of Jason Bulger, but Scioscia said he still has some things to work on in his delivery.
Setback: Adam Kennedy was a late scratch Thursday for a left knee infection, and he was replaced at second base by Maicer Izturis. Kennedy suffered a cut on his knee while sliding and has been placed on oral antibiotics. He will be re-evaluated Friday.
On deck: The Angels will host the Royals on Friday at 12:05 p.m. PT. Right-hander Hector Carrasco is scheduled to face Kansas City right-hander Scott Elarton. Right-hander John Lackey is slated to start Saturday against the Diamondbacks in Tucson.