ARLINGTON -- With American League Division Series play on the horizon, several new regulations regarding postseason rosters are embraced by Angels general manager Bill Stoneman, even if it's not likely either will be necessary. Unlike past postseasons, teams have until lineup cards are exchanged before Game 1 to make revisions in the roster, in the event of last-minute developments. Also, rosters no longer are frozen in a series once play begins. An injury, if documented properly by the medical staff, can lead to a replacement player being selected mid-series.
"The way I've read the rules, we have been told when to get the rosters in," Stoneman said on Wednesday. "But it's not official until the lineup cards are exchanged prior to Game 1. It's something we discussed as general managers in terms of what-ifs. Now if something happens, we can make a change." The same general idea holds true of in-series alterations to the roster caused by injuries. "The difference between the old and new way is the 1-in-100 occasion when you might want to change it in the last few hours," Stoneman said. "After we make our roster, we always invite a few players to come with us if somebody gets hurt. "In the past, there were no substitutions during the course of a series. This year, for the first time since I've been involved, if somebody gets hurt, you have to substantiate it with a doctor's report, and you can be granted a substitute." Stoneman said it's always a difficult job, deciding on the composition of the 25-man roster, adding that it might be even more demanding this year with so many players having contributed to the Angels' success. "This year's going to be tough -- probably tougher than most years," he said. "Shoot, it's always tough." Stoneman has applauded the Angels' performance and aggressive style all season, and he sees no reason why it should change in the postseason. "This is a strong group," he said. "We intend to pitch well and use the same pressure we used to get here. I don't think we've been in a losing streak all year, yet we've had a bunch of occasions over the course of the season where we've done very well." Unsigned beyond this season, Stoneman said his contract situation didn't come up during organizational meetings that were conducted over the past two days. Stoneman's contract is due to expire at the end of the season. "Let's get through this season," he said. "There's a lot more important stuff going on on the field. Our organization meetings have to do with our ballclub, what we're looking at next year and in the future. We're talking about players almost entirely. That's what it's about." Rivera muscles in: Juan Rivera, who missed the first five months recovering from a broken leg, has made a big impression with his bat and seems likely to be added as a much-needed right-handed weapon. "It's almost like a trade, when you get a Juan Rivera at the end of the season that you can put in your lineup," manager Mike Scioscia said of the veteran outfielder who, in 11 games, has batted .257 with a .457 slugging percentage -- which would be higher if a blast on Tuesday night hadn't rocketed off the top of the left-field wall for a single, missing a homer by a few feet. Guerrero improving: Vladimir Guerrero, through broadcaster Joe Mota, said he's making progress testing his right elbow with long toss. But he is still unsure when, and if, he'll be able to return to right field. Scioscia doesn't think Vlad needs to play a game in the field this weekend in Oakland in order to be ready to play right in the first round -- even if it's at Fenway Park with its vast expanses in right center. "The key is going to be how his elbow is responding," Scioscia said. "We don't need to see him in a game, no. He's played [in Fenway] before. I don't think that's going to be an issue. You have to control first to third there, which Vlad is as good at as anybody in baseball." Guerrero and Garret Anderson were back in the lineup on Wednesday after sitting out the first two games. Orlando Cabrera and Howard Kendrick got days off, and Morales got a look in right with Vlad in the DH role. On Sept. 26 in Angels history: In 2002, the Angels beat the Rangers, 10-5, in Arlington to claim their first postseason berth since 1986. They also wrapped up their postseason spot on this date in '86, beating Texas, 8-3, in Anaheim, with Gary Pettis, Brian Downing and George Hendrick homering in the sixth inning. Up next: The Angels are idle on Thursday. John Lackey (18-9, 3.11) makes his final postseason tuneup against A's ace Dan Haren (15-8, 3.12) on Friday night in Oakland at 7:05 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.