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Rodriguez to sit despite normal X-rays

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Times Staff Writer

X-rays on Francisco Rodriguez’s sprained right ankle were normal Tuesday, but the closer, who was replaced Monday night after only 13 pitches, will be sidelined for at least three days while the Angels evaluate the results of an MRI test.

“We’re concerned about how it will influence his delivery and the stress on his arm,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “This thing will heal, but we don’t want to put him at any undue risk.”

Rodriguez, who blew a save by giving up three runs Monday night, twisted his right ankle coming down the dugout steps before Saturday’s game. The right-hander has also been pitching with a sore left ankle, which he sprained last August.

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Rodriguez said his pain subsided after icing Monday night and Tuesday, and he played long toss and threw aggressively from 60 feet on flat ground Tuesday afternoon.

“I’m good enough to go back out there,” Rodriguez said, “but I don’t make those decisions.”

Scioscia does, and his mind was made up Tuesday: For now, he will go with a closer by committee, with Justin Speier, Scot Shields and Darren Oliver pitching the ninth inning, depending on matchups.

“If Frankie is out for only three or four days, we can absorb that,” Scioscia said. “We’ll evaluate it on a daily basis.”

If the Angels decide to put Rodriguez on the disabled list, they could recall a reliever from triple A or move starter Dustin Moseley back to the bullpen and insert triple-A starter Nick Adenhart, their top pitching prospect, into the rotation.

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Rodriguez said his left ankle, injured when he stepped in a hole on the Angel Stadium mound last summer, bothered him over the winter, which raises the question:

Why, if his ankle wasn’t 100%, did the Angels allow him to throw 25 1/3 innings in the Venezuelan winter league, more than Rodriguez threw the previous two winters combined?

“He’s always been straight-up with us as far as how he feels, and if he felt he was setting his ankle back, he would have stopped pitching,” Scioscia said. “We monitor him very closely, and we were comfortable with it. He felt good when he came to spring training.”

Rodriguez is convinced winter ball has contributed to his big league success, because he reports to camp in excellent shape, almost game-ready. So, the Angels have allowed him to play with certain restrictions, such as not pitching on consecutive days.

“We realize how much he needs winter ball to prepare for the season,” Scioscia said. “It’s always been a positive, and I think it was last winter. Nothing he did over the winter affected what has happened now. In spring training, his left ankle was a non-issue.”

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X-rays on Howie Kendrick’s right thumb, which he jammed on a third-inning groundout Monday, were negative, and the second baseman remained day to day. Kendrick did not play Tuesday, but he hit soft toss before the game.

“I didn’t know what to expect, but I knew it wasn’t broken because I could still move it,” said Kendrick, who will resume using the thumb guard he has used periodically in the past. “Hopefully, I’ll be back sooner rather than later.”

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Reliever Chris Bootcheck (rib-cage strain) threw 47 pitches in three innings of a minor league game in Arizona and will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga this weekend.

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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