ANAHEIM -- For the second straight day, the Angels' infield on Thursday was made up of four reserves -- Kendry Morales at first base, Sean Rodriguez at second, Robb Quinlan at third and Brandon Wood at shortstop. But it isn't just because the Angels clinched the American League West that they've been using an infield full of usual backups. It's because the Angels' regulars are battling various injuries and illnesses. The good news, however, is that the Angels expect first baseman Mark Teixeira and Chone Figgins back in the next few days, and that second baseman Howie Kendrick and shortstop Erick Aybar are showing good progress in their return from hamstring strains.
Teixeira has been plagued by an infection that began giving him fever-like symptoms Tuesday night. He was out of the lineup on Wednesday and again on Thursday for precautionary measures. The medical staff is just making sure it's not a staph infection, which Teixeira said is likely not the case. "They don't think it is, but they want to rule it out," Teixeira said. "I feel really confident it's nothing. I plan on [playing Friday], but I want to make sure it's all right." Figgins is still battling a sore elbow after being hit by a pitch against the Yankees on Monday. But the Angels' leadoff man and catalyst said he thinks he'll be back by Friday or Saturday because it's only affecting his throws and not his swing. "It's more important to throw because it's such a long throw from third," said Figgins, who took fielding and batting practice before Thursday night's game. "The tightness and swelling is still there, so it was hard for me to throw." As for Kendrick and Aybar, the two middle infielders stepped up their running program to include running the bases on Thursday. Aybar's hamstring, however, is closer to healing than Kendrick's, and the shortstop could return to the lineup sometime next week, while Kendrick's return is still unclear. "Howie and Erick ran today and ran the bases and looked very strong running," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to pay a lot of attention to their rehab and where they are. We're going to err on the side of caution because of the nature of hamstrings and where we are right now with making the playoffs." Scioscia, though, wants the duo back before the postseason begins to get them ready for the playoffs in early October. "You want to get them back at the plate and get re-acclimated," Scioscia said. "You want to get them to a level of getting them ready for the challenges of the postseason.
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.