Dipping into minors is the remedy for flu

Times Staff Writer

The flu bug that has infected the Angels claimed two more victims Monday when the team optioned right-handers Jose Arredondo and Rich Thompson to triple-A Salt Lake to make space for emergency call-ups Bobby Wilson, a catcher, and Brandon Wood, an infielder.

“Right now a couple of our guys are under the weather, so we want to have some [backup] there,” Manager Mike Scioscia said.

The promotion of Wilson, who had a single in the ninth inning in his major league debut Monday, was made necessary when starting catcher Mike Napoli and backup Jeff Mathis fell ill over the weekend.

“We’re just readjusting,” said Scioscia, whose roster features three catchers and only 11 pitchers. “That’s not going to go on for long.”

Mathis, who was wearing a surgical mask Sunday in an effort to keep his cold from spreading, said he ate solid food Monday for the first time in days. He felt so good, in fact, he was originally in the lineup. But after consulting with the Angels medical staff, Scioscia benched him in favor of Napoli.


Wood, who can play third base or shortstop, was also brought up as insurance after Maicer Izturis’ back tightened in Sunday’s game in Detroit. With Izturis sore and starting second baseman Howie Kendrick probably sidelined a few more days because of a strained hamstring, Scioscia was forced to give Chone Figgins his first start of the year at second base Monday and Robb Quinlan his first start of the season at third base.

“We need some coverage on the left side. And Woody can give us that,” Scioscia said.


Wilson and Wood were told they were going to Anaheim about midnight Sunday, long after their gear had been shipped to Memphis, where Salt Lake played Monday.

Wood had prepared for just such a possibility, though. After riding the shuttle between California and Utah five times last season, he decided to leave some equipment behind in Anaheim this year.

“Luckily, I left a pair of spikes and some batting gloves,” he said.

In spring training, he lent a fielder’s glove to Mathis, who eagerly returned it Monday.

Wilson said he had some catching gear stored in the clubhouse, but he had to borrow bats from Wood.

And though the Angels team the two minor leaguers joined Monday started the day tied with Oakland for the best record in the American League, the group they left in Salt Lake was playing even better, having won a record 21 of their first 22 games.

And that’s despite the fact that the Angels have recalled six of the Bees’ best players this month.

“It’s tough, man,” Scioscia said. “We’re trying to find out who lost that one game.”


Right-hander John Lackey, out since spring training because of a strained triceps, will make his second rehab start for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga tonight in Lancaster. He’ll throw four innings or about 60 pitches.

Lackey pitched two innings, giving up a run and striking out five in 41 pitches in his first start last week.


Right-hander Kelvim Escobar, also on the mend from a torn muscle in his shoulder, had his best day in more than a month Monday, throwing 60 feet without pain at the Angels’ training camp in Tempe, Ariz.

However, Scioscia related the news with guarded optimism.

“These are baby steps. There’s a long way to go,” Scioscia said. “But he hasn’t had any of the setbacks that . . . shut [him] down last month.”