Rehab was painful for Hunter

Torii Hunter was just trying to do what big leaguers usually do on minor league rehabilitation assignments, pay for the postgame meals during his stint with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga last week.

So how was Hunter rewarded for his good deed? With a nasty case of food poisoning that knocked him out for a day and delayed his return to the Angels until Sunday.

Wednesday night's meal, from an Italian chain restaurant, left Hunter with stomach cramps, vomiting and nausea and kept him up all night.

"I thought I was going to pass out; I thought I was going to die," Hunter said. "Everyone who ate the chicken Parmesan was out, like six or seven guys. From the spread I bought. How about that? It's like Russian roulette -- I shot myself."

Hunter, on the disabled list since July 10 because of a groin strain, recovered in time to play for Rancho Cucamonga on Friday.

In his first game back with the Angels on Sunday, he played all 13 innings and was two for six with two runs batted in, including the single that put the Angels ahead in the 13th inning.

"Thirteen innings -- welcome back, T. Hunt," Hunter said. "My legs are a little sore, but I'm all right."


Locked up

Jake Locker may never play professional baseball, but the Angels think so much of the University of Washington quarterback they signed him to a bonus of about $300,000 Saturday night on the hope he would choose baseball over football.

Locker, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound outfielder, was a 10th-round pick of the Angels in June. But the college junior also has NFL potential. The Angels will hold the rights to the two-sport star for six years.

"He's going to play football, but he's an incredible baseball talent," Angels scouting director Eddie Bane said. "He has Kirk Gibson-type skills with a good arm."

The Angels will try to work out Locker at their Arizona spring training facility during breaks from school and football, but right now, Locker remains committed to football.

"It will depend on how fresh he is," Bane said. "He's a tremendous talent, but he knows he needs to be exposed to the game."


Hatching a hitter

After collecting the 1,000th hit of his career as part of a four-hit afternoon Sunday, leadoff batter Chone Figgins thanked Angels hitting coach Mickey Hatcher.

"It means a whole lot," Figgins said of the milestone. "All that work I put in . . . a lot of credit goes to Hatch. He's given me the mind-set of a big league hitter."


Guerrero scratched

Vladimir Guerrero was scratched from Sunday's lineup because of soreness in the back of his left knee, the spot in which he was hit by a pitch Saturday, but Manager Mike Scioscia expects the designated hitter to play in tonight's series finale against the Orioles.





When: 4 PDT.

Where: Camden Yards.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980, 1330.

Pitchers: Ervin Santana vs. David Hernandez.

Update: Santana had his best start of this injury-plagued season Tuesday night against Tampa Bay, throwing a three-hit shutout with six strikeouts and two walks to lead the Angels to a 6-0 victory. If he can back that up with another strong performance today, Santana would go a long way toward proving he is over the elbow problems that have sidelined him for two months this season. Hernandez gave up three runs and six hits in 6 2/3 innings of a 6-4 win over the Angels on July 3 in Anaheim. One of those hits was a Kendry Morales home run.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

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