Guerrero returns to Angels lineup

Guerrero returns to Angels lineup

ARLINGTON -- Since Vladimir Guerrero, Chone Figgins, Juan Rivera and Howie Kendrick suffered their respective injuries, Angels manager Mike Scioscia only has been able to talk about upgrades in their status. On Saturday, the lineup finally reflected some improvement.

Guerrero, who had been battling inflammation in his right knee, was back in the cleanup spot for the Angels. He hadn't played since Sept. 12.

As for the other three, Scioscia still only can talk about when they might return.

There was little change in the status of both Figgins, who is suffering from a deep contusion of the triceps tendon in his right arm, and Rivera, who has tightness in his right hip flexor.

However, Scioscia was noticeably pleased with Kendrick's workout on Saturday afternoon.

"He made a lot of progress today," Scioscia said. "Barring any setbacks, we expect him back in a few days."

Previously it was thought Kendrick, who is on the disabled list with a strained left hamstring, might not play until Wednesday while the Angels are in Seattle. Now there's a chance he could play in the series opener on Monday.

"Kendrick ran extremely well today," Scioscia said. "He's pretty much up to 100 percent. We'll evaluate him Monday. He may play as early as Monday."

Scioscia wasn't quite as emphatic about the possible returns of Rivera and Figgins. The manager said Rivera also ran on Saturday and was getting closer to a return, while he maintained that Figgins was day-to-day.

"If he was ready, he'd be playing," Scioscia said of Figgins.

The only reason Scioscia might sound more animated about Kendrick, though, is that a hamstring injury can be harder to project than a contusion or a hip flexor injury.

"The prognosis of a bruised elbow is easier to predict than a sore hamstring," Scioscia said. "We know he'll play in the next few days. We couldn't say the same about Howie until today."

Regardless of the differences in severity of each player's ailments, it at least looks promising that all three will get some at-bats before the playoffs begin.

"We're still hoping," Scioscia said.

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