Broken finger might not stop Figgins
Chone Figgins, who has been lamenting the lack of game action at third base this spring, finally got what he was looking for Wednesday: a hard grounder off the bat of Arizona first baseman Conor Jackson.
Attached to the fifth-inning shot was a lesson: Be careful what you wish for.
Figgins, his vision slightly impaired by the glare coming off the Tempe Diablo Stadium bleachers, misplayed the grounder just enough to where the ball hit the middle finger of his right (throwing) hand.
X-rays Thursday revealed a fracture just above the first knuckle, the finger was placed in a splint and Figgins will return to Southern California to be examined by a hand specialist today. No timetable was given for his return, but Figgins had little doubt he would be ready for the April 2 season opener.
“The way it feels, it will only be a couple of days for me, but I’m not the doctor,” said Figgins, who has never broken a finger before. “I kept picking up a baseball and a bat [Wednesday] night, and I had feeling in there. The fracture looked tiny to me. As long as the swelling goes down, I should be fine.”
If Figgins, who finished the inning Wednesday and then came out of the game, is sidelined longer than expected, Maicer Izturis would take over at third, with Robb Quinlan serving as the primary backup. But Manager Mike Scioscia was encouraged by the progress Figgins made overnight.
“It’s unfortunate, but Figgy is a tough kid, he’ll bounce back,” Scioscia said. “Even today, he felt a lot better. Until we know exactly the extent of it, it’s tough to put a time frame on it, but I’m optimistic by the way he felt [Thursday] that he won’t be out for a long time.”
Jered Weaver, slowed by shoulder tightness, took what pitching coach Mike Butcher called a “huge step forward” Thursday, throwing a three-inning, 50-pitch simulated game, mixing in breaking balls for the first time this spring.
Weaver will start a minor league exhibition game Tuesday. The right-hander will open the season on the disabled list and is scheduled to make two rehabilitation starts for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga before returning to the Angels for an April 16 game at Boston.
“This is as good as I’ve felt in a long time,” Weaver said. “I’m back to where I need to be, pretty much.”
Weaver followed his normal pregame routine, stretching, playing catch and warming up in the bullpen.
He sat down for several minutes between innings of 16, 19 and 15 pitches, and gave up home runs to Kendry Morales and Nick Gorneault in his second inning.
After a 51-minute rain delay in the middle of the second inning, Thursday’s Cactus League game against Texas was called because of rain after two innings with the Angels leading, 1-0, on Shea Hillenbrand’s homer. Right fielder Vladimir Guerrero dropped Matt Kata’s game-opening flare for an error, but he made a nice catch after a long run into foul territory of Nelson Cruz’s fly ball in the second. Hector Carrasco threw two scoreless innings and then worked in the bullpen to bring his pitch count up to 50.