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Guerrero gets time to rest ailing knee

Guerrero gets time to rest ailing knee

ANAHEIM -- With no reason to push his irritated right knee, Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero got the day off on Saturday.

Juan Rivera started in right field in place of Guerrero, who is expected back Tuesday in Oakland.

"I think there's certain games when guys are going to go out there maybe banged up to where they can bring some of their game, but not all of it," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Right now, it would be much more advantageous for us to take a half-step backwards in Vlad's case, because hopefully a couple days down the road, his two steps forward is going to be strong for the long haul."

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Guerrero, who has been plagued by knee issues all year, left in the fourth inning of Friday's game after aggravating his right knee in the first inning tracking a fly ball hit by Jose Lopez near the right-field line.

Scioscia said Guerrero's situation should not be described as a "setback," saying it's just "a little inflammation" that a player will get from time to time.

Guerrero had the knee wrapped on Saturday and walked gingerly around the locker room.

Having clinched the American League West on Wednesday, the Angels enjoy the luxury of taking it easy on ailing starters.

"There are some things where you can push or play through at the right time in the season," Scioscia said. "We have a challenge in front of us. We're not just going to take guys out just to take them out. If this were the seventh game of the World Series, I think Vlad would be out there playing, but right now, we still have a lot of baseball left to risk any major setbacks with anybody."

Chone Figgins started on Saturday for the first time since being hit by a pitch on the elbow on Monday, but instead of playing third base, he was the designated hitter, with Robb Quinlan filling in at third as he has the past four games.

Figgins' throwing is still affected a bit in his biceps near where he was hit in the elbow.

Torii Hunter also returned to the lineup Saturday, hitting cleanup and playing center field, after serving a two-game suspension Wednesday and Thursday. He also missed Friday's game with lingering tightness in his left quadriceps muscle, which he tweaked on Tuesday.

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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