Aybar dislocates finger
TORONTO -- The Angels played most of Tuesday’s game without shortstop Erick Aybar, who dislocated his right pinkie finger while diving to stop Alex Rios’ first-inning grounder up the middle and could be headed for the disabled list.
Aybar, whose finger got stuck on the artificial turf, causing it to bend under his hand, was pulled from the game. X-rays were negative, and his pinkie and ring fingers were placed in a splint.
“I felt the ligament stretch out -- it’s pretty sore,” Aybar said through an interpreter. “I don’t think this would have happened on grass because I would have slid.”
Aybar, batting .203 this month after hitting .318 in April, will be examined by a hand specialist today.
“There’s certainly a possibility of going on the DL,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “It’s really swollen. We’ll get a better indication [today] of how long he’ll be out.”
Chone Figgins went through agility drills, took batting practice, fielded ground balls and ran the bases aggressively Tuesday, and if the third baseman feels no ill effects from the rigorous workout, he will be activated for today’s game.
The leadoff batter, who is hitting .306 with a .421 on-base percentage and a team-high 11 stolen bases, has been on the DL since May 4 because of a right hamstring strain.
Speed is a huge part of Figgins’ game -- in addition to the stolen bases, he goes from first to third on most singles -- but Scioscia is confident the injury won’t inhibit his play in any way. “Not the way he ran today, I wouldn’t think so,” Scioscia said. “He got after it.”
A fresh start seems to have done wonders for third baseman Dallas McPherson, who was let go by the Angels last winter after missing all of 2007 because of back surgery and most of 2005 and 2006 because of hip and back injuries.
McPherson, signed by the Florida Marlins after he failed to come to terms with the Angels, hit three home runs for triple-A Albuquerque against Round Rock on Monday night. In 40 games, McPherson is batting .297 with 15 homers and 35 runs batted in.
“I think the change has been good for me,” McPherson told mlb.com. “It was a chance to have a fresh start where people aren’t waiting for me to get hurt. . . . I feel good. My back is really holding up well, and I’m able to play every day.”
Howie Kendrick’s recovery from a left hamstring strain is not going nearly as well as Figgins’. The second baseman, out since April 14, resumed agility drills and strengthening exercises Tuesday after taking five days off but doesn’t know when he’ll run again.
“I shut it down for a couple of days and went back to the drawing board,” said Kendrick, who aggravated the injury in a May 6 rehabilitation game for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. “The good news is the soreness is gone, and it hasn’t come back.”
Mike Napoli, second in the league with 10 home runs, was treated like an elite power hitter Tuesday. The Angels catcher was walked three times, twice intentionally, and hit by a pitch. . . . The Angels’ June 15 interleague game against the Atlanta Braves at home will begin at 5 p.m. and will be televised nationally by ESPN.
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