Search is on for depth at shortstop
Five days before Monday’s trade deadline, the Angels continue to pursue a veteran shortstop as insurance in case Erick Aybar is injured.
The team has targeted three Toronto players, slick-fielding John McDonald, former Angel David Eckstein and Marco Scutaro, as well as Baltimore’s Juan Castro and Cleveland’s Jamey Carroll.
The Angels lost considerable depth at the position when Maicer Izturis, who was splitting time with Aybar, tore a ligament in his left thumb Aug. 13 and underwent season-ending surgery. Aybar left Wednsday’s game with a tight left hamstring and is day to day.
“We’re looking, we’re surveying the landscape, and nothing has materialized,” General Manager Tony Reagins said. “But if we see an opportunity to improve, we’ll pursue it.”
For a new Angel to be eligible for the postseason, he must be acquired by Monday. He would also have to pass through waivers, meaning another club could claim him and block any trade.
No team will just hand the Angels a quality shortstop, so the asking price, even for backups, is high.
“At this point, there hasn’t been a fit,” Reagins said. “The waiver aspect hasn’t been an issue. The right pieces aren’t in place for a deal. Will that change? Maybe. It may not.”
If there is no deal, the Angels will enter the playoffs with rookie Sean Rodriguez, who made his first big league start at shortstop Tuesday, or Brandon Wood, who is playing shortstop at triple-A Salt Lake.
Infield depth could be a real concern after second baseman Howie Kendrick left the game Wednesday because of a tight left hamstring.
He is said to be day to day, but that’s the hamstring he strained in April and he was out six weeks.
Kendrick had moved from the seventh spot to the second spot Tuesday, replacing Aybar.
“He won’t give us as much of a situational look as Aybar,” Manager Mike Scioscia said before the game, “but when Howie is swinging the way he can, he certainly gives us a strong presence at the top of the order.”
Kendrick, who is batting .308, has had trouble with some breaking balls away, but with the speedy Chone Figgins ahead of him and the dangerous Mark Teixeira behind him, he should get more fastballs in the two hole.
“That’s not proven, but it does make sense that I’d see more heaters,” Kendrick said. “But I’m happy anywhere I hit in the lineup, and I won’t change my approach. I’ve still got to take balls and swing at strikes.”
Figgins suffered an irritation of his left big toe when he was caught in a rundown between third and home Tuesday night, and the third baseman was unable to play Wednesday. X-rays were negative, and Figgins is listed as day to day.
“He was going to try to play . . . but it was tough for him to push off,” Scioscia said. “If he can’t run, that’s a big part of his game that he can’t bring.
“Until he gets to a level where he can do some of the things he needs to do on the field, we’re going to keep him out.”
The Angels activated outfielder Reggie Willits (mild concussion) off the disabled list before Wednesday’s game and sent reliever Jason Bulger back to Salt Lake. . . . Right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, who did not play Monday or Tuesday because of sore legs, and designated hitter Garret Anderson, who had one pinch-hitting appearance in the last two games, both started Wednesday night.