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Notes: Anderson shining in second half

Notes: Anderson catching fire

SEATTLE -- Guess who's fourth in the Majors in RBIs since the All-Star break. To his own surprise, it's Garret Anderson, whose 39 RBIs through Monday left him tied with Mark Teixeira behind Bobby Abreu, Magglio Ordonez (46 each) and Manny Ramirez (40).

Maybe the Angels have found that elusive big bat behind Vladimir Guerrero after all. And he's been there all along, just waiting for his body to cooperate.

His hip flexor tear a memory, the quiet Anderson has been feeling good and making a lot of noise offensively. The franchise leader with 1,182 RBIs, he has driven home 54 runs in 82 games -- a half-season.

"Garret was telling me he finally feels good," Chone Figgins said of his good buddy. "It's been a long road for him. It's really good to see him playing the way he can now."

Figgins, the Majors' leading hitter since the break at .388, missed his seventh straight game on Tuesday recovering from a sprained left wrist as the Angels continued their showdown series with the Mariners at Safeco Field.

"The No. 1 thing about Garret is that he's all about winning," Figgins said. "He's never been a guy who played for numbers. He'll give himself up to help the team more than any No. 4 hitter I've seen. If Vlad gets a leadoff double, Garret's going to hit the ground ball to the right side to move him over. He's not going to swing for the fences.

"Teammates see that, and they say, 'If he can do that, so can I.' That's why you see players from other teams talking to him all the time. They respect him, the way he plays the game."

Starting with his two-homer, 10-RBI eruption against the Yankees at Angel Stadium, Anderson has raised his slugging percentage from .415 to .462 with four homers, four doubles and 14 RBIs in seven games, batting .370.

"He's feeling much more comfortable in the box," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's found a swing he can use and is driving the ball to all fields. It's taken him time to get his timing. I wouldn't say he's redefining himself. Maybe re-finding himself, trying to be productive with a team in a pennant race with high expectations."

Since producing a career-high 201 hits in 2003, Anderson has endured a series of ailments and injuries. He appeared to be back in primetime form this spring, but an April 27 tear in his right hip flexor tendon brought his 13th season to a grinding halt. He came back on June 3, aggravating the injury and returning to the DL on June 17. Two of his three DL trips in a remarkably durable career have come this season.

"I feel good now -- I'm not even thinking about the leg," Anderson said. "I'm seeing the ball well and getting some good swings."

His solo homer and two-run double launched John Lackey toward Monday night's 6-0 blanking that pushed the Mariners three games off the Angels' pace. Anderson's 14 career homers at Safeco Field are third most among visiting players.

Kotchman ready to go: Casey Kotchman said he was cleared to play again after taking batting practice on Tuesday without discomfort with his bruised left thumb and sprained left middle finger. He was hit on the hand by a Mariano Rivera cut fastball while taking a swing against the Yankees closer last week.

Kotchman might be in the lineup in the series finale on Wednesday against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez, Scioscia said. Kendry Morales has played capably at first and brought a four-game hitting streak (6-for-15) into Tuesday night's game.

Catcher Mike Napoli was encouraged on Tuesday with his running, taking two turns around second in going first to third, as he continues to test his right hamstring. He's been on the DL since July 28 and is being careful not to aggravate the tender area. He said it's possible he'll begin his Minor League rehab games this weekend.

Lackey (throat infection) said he was feeling better on Tuesday after throwing a shutout on Monday night. He said he'll be ready for his next start on Sunday at home against Texas.

Bartolo Colon threw a bullpen session and is set for a start on Thursday night for Triple-A Salt Lake.

AFL rosters: The Angels have seven players ticketed for the Surprise Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. Four -- David Austen, Darren O'Day, Fernando Rodriguez and Von Stertzbach -- are right-handed pitchers with Double-A Arkansas. Infielder Sean Rodriguez, also of Arkansas, is on the roster, along with catcher Ben Johnson (Salt Lake) and outfielder Chris Pettit (Class A Rancho Cucamonga).

The league begins its 16th season on Oct. 9 in five Phoenix area Cactus League stadiums. The championship game is Nov. 17, with the second-annual Rising Stars Showcase scheduled for Oct. 26 in Surprise.

Visit www.mlbfallball.com for information.

Minor sensations: Matt Brown clubbed a pair of two-run homers, giving him 19, and Brandon Wood cracked his 21st homer for Salt Lake in an 8-0 blanking of Fresno on Monday. Juan Rivera, hitting .231 in 10 games, had an RBI double in four at-bats. Steven Shell (7-3) worked six innings, striking out five for the win, with Aaron Pullin (two innings) and Matt Wilhite also seeing action.

On Aug. 28 in Angels history: Don Sutton worked 7 1/3 innings, and Donnie Moore finished up for his 18th save in a 4-2 win over Detroit en route to a 1986 American League West title.

Up next: Jered Weaver (9-6, 3.96 ERA) faces Hernandez (10-6, 3.90) in Wednesday's Safeco Field series finale at 1:35 p.m. PT.

Lyle Spencer 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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