Notes: Quinlan likes facing lefties

Notes: Quinlan likes facing lefties

ANAHEIM -- As long as there's a southpaw on the mound, Robb Quinlan's name is going to be jotted down in the starting lineup.

The corner infielder has become a mainstay against left-handed pitchers this year, starting in all but six of the Angels' bouts with lefties. Quinlan has hit as high as fifth in the lineup and is a big part of the Halos' 21-16 mark against left-handers.

His .360 average against southpaws entering Saturday is second on the club, behind only Vladimir Guerrero's .407. Quinlan has used the string of successes to bump his average from .255 to .326 over his past 24 games.

Quinlan, though, said he doesn't try to do anything different or special against lefties.

"I just go out there and try and battle; it's no different if you're facing a righty," he said. "I've just been getting more opportunities to face lefties."

By facing a left-hander as a right-handed hitter, Quinlan said the matchup takes an effective curveball and/or slider away from the hurler.

Quinlan, who started at first base and hit seventh against the Mariners on Saturday, hasn't just been a tough out against left-handers this season. His .280 average against right-handers is more than double the .137 clip he posted last year. Quinlan, whose 21-game hitting streak in 2004 is the longest run by a rookie in team history, has an 11-game streak after singling his first time up on Saturday.

His six home runs and 27 RBIs this year are both career bests, with five homers coming against left-handers.

Erstad update: Darin Erstad said the next step in his possible return to the lineup is to go through simulated-game situations on the basepaths early next week.

The veteran said his irritated ankle only bothers him when he is stopping and starting. He said he felt fine taking batting practice before Friday's game.

"If [the ankle] stays where it's at right now, I have a chance [to return this season]," Erstad said.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Erstad won't be ready until rosters expand in September, but mentioned that the two bone spurs haven't affected his agility while taking grounders at first.

Antsy Scioscia: Scioscia served the final game of his three-game suspension on Saturday and said he can't wait to get back to the dugout.

He has caught himself mimicking signs in his office while watching the game on television and also has had a few revelations.

"When you talk to people on TV, I'm finding out they don't answer you," he said. "And I yell at the TV once in awhile or hug it; it depends on what's happening."

Familiar face: When Jake Woods makes his first Major League start on Sunday, the Angels will be facing a former pitcher for the second day in a row.

The Mariners claimed the 24-year-old off waivers from the Angels last offseason after he struggled a bit in the Halos' bullpen. Woods was 1-1 with a 4.55 ERA in 28 games last year.

"He has a lot of upside as a youngster," Scioscia said. "In hindsight, he wasn't as prepared for [a bullpen role] as we would have hoped, but he's pitched some good baseball for [the Mariners]."

Former Angels starter Jarrod Washburn started his fourth game against his old club on Saturday.

Pride to DL: Following Saturday's game, the Angels placed outfielder Curtis Pride on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-handed reliever Greg Jones from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Pride is suffering from tightness in his lower back, caused by an awkward swing when he appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning of Tuesday's game against the Rangers. Pride hasn't played since, so the move is retroactive to that contest.

Quick hits: Scioscia said the August struggles of John Lackey, Saturday's starter, have nothing to do with a dead-arm period that pitchers often complain of as the season winds down. ... The Angels' Sept. 3 game against the Tigers in Detroit has been changed from an afternoon start to a 5:05 p.m. PT contest to accommodate ESPN. ... Suffering from a strained oblique, Kendry Morales was put on the 15-day disabled list at Triple-A Salt Lake.

On the farm: Salt Lake beat Fresno on Friday, 6-3, behind a strong start by Dustin Moseley. The right-hander improved to 11-7 after allowing three runs on eight hits and striking out nine over seven innings. ... Center fielder Terry Evans hit his 33rd home run of the Minor League season, but Double-A Arkansas lost to Midland, 5-2 -- its fourth straight loss. ... Fernando Rodriguez allowed one run and five hits in eight innings to lead Class A Rancho Cucamonga past Inland Empire, 7-1. Third baseman Freddy Sandoval had two hits, including a two-run home run, for the Quakes. ... Center fielder Peter Bourjos went 3-for-4 with a double in Rookie level Orem's 5-4 loss to Billings.

Up next: Ervin Santana will oppose Woods as the Angels wrap up their four-game series with the Mariners at 12:35 p.m. PT on sunday. Santana's next victory will set a career high in wins.

Greg Wagner is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.