Angels closer Huston Street sidelined because of groin strain

Angels closer Huston Street sidelined because of groin strain
Angels closer Huston Street has trouble standing after injuring his groin in Saturday night's game against the Mariners. (Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

An MRI test confirmed that Huston Street suffered a Grade I strain of his left groin Saturday night, an injury that will sideline the Angels closer for at least the final week of the regular season.

Street, who leads the American League with 40 saves, hopes to pitch in the playoffs if the Angels get that far, but that will require more relief efforts like Sunday, when four pitchers combined to give up one run and two hits in the final four innings of the team's 3-2 victory over Seattle.

"The bullpen is stepping up, and it's exciting to see," said Street, who is on crutches. "It's a big opportunity for a lot of them and for me as well. The better they pitch, the better chance I have of coming back and helping this team."

Without Street and setup man Joe Smith (left ankle sprain), Manager Mike Scioscia will use "a committee" of relievers in the eighth and ninth innings that includes Trevor Gott, Fernando Salas, Mike Morin, Jose Alvarez and Cesar Ramos.


Gott was not available Sunday after pitching in four of five games, so Morin threw a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save.

"It's going to take every arm we have down there, it's not going to be one guy moving into the closer's role," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, we'll swing the bats well enough to get an opportunity to hold some leads."

Smith took a step toward a possible return when the right-hander, wearing high-top cleats over a heavily taped ankle, threw 25 pitches in the bullpen, half from the slope in front of the mound and half from the rubber.

"I thought it was a big step, but it all depends on how I come in [Monday], if I get sore or not," Smith said. "So far, everything's been good."

Smith said Street's injury did not provide incentive to return quicker.

"I wanted to pitch before Huston got hurt," Smith said. "Now's the time. Everything is on the line. I don't want to sit here in the training room. I want to play."

Catch of the day

Tim Salmon was in right field for one of the greatest catches in franchise history, center fielder Jim Edmonds' full-extension diving grab, with his back to home plate, of David Howard's drive to the warning track in Kansas City in June 1997.

Salmon said Mike Trout's catch Saturday night, when the center fielder propelled himself several feet over the wall with his right hand and robbed Seattle's Jesus Montero of a three-run home run, was better.

"I think the significance of the win, the timing of the play in the game, definitely trumps what Jimmy did," Salmon said. "But the pure level of difficulty was off the charts for both catches.

"In spring training, you goof around trying to climb the wall, but all the timing mechanisms that have to be in place to make that catch … you can't even simulate it. To see it actually happen, you're like, 'Oh, that's what it looks like.' "

Short hops

Matt Shoemaker has not recovered enough from a forearm strain to start Tuesday against Oakland. Right-hander Nick Tropeano will start in his place. … David Freese is batting .329 with 10 doubles, two home runs and 10 runs batted in in 23 games since returning from the disabled list.