Johnny Giavotella's absence is felt by Angels

Johnny Giavotella's absence is felt by Angels
Angels' Johnny Giavotella missed a second straight game Saturday with an undisclosed medical issue. (Reed Hoffmann / Associated Press)

Infielder Johnny Giavotella remained unavailable with an undisclosed medical issue Saturday, forcing the Angels to scramble their roster, their lineup and, potentially, their starting rotation before next weekend.

Giavotella left Angel Stadium before Friday's game and was not at his locker before Saturday's 15-3 pasting by the Toronto Blue Jays. Manager Mike Scioscia said Giavotella had been examined by a doctor but wouldn't say much more.

"He's feeling better," Scioscia said. "That's about all I can tell you. We're hoping it's day to day."

An Angels spokesman also declined to provide further details.

With Giavotella's condition — and timetable to return — unclear, the Angels recalled infielder Grant Green from triple-A Salt Lake and optioned right-hander Nick Tropeano to the minors to create a roster spot for Green. And that could leave the team short a starting pitcher during next weekend's series in Cleveland.

Giavotella's absence created a more immediate problem for the Angels on offense, as it left them without a leadoff hitter. On Saturday, Scioscia pushed regular No.2 hitter Kole Calhoun to the top of the order and slid Mike Trout and Albert Pujols up a spot to second and third.

Although it's a lineup the Angels have used before, Scioscia prefers batting Calhoun second. However he had no other acceptable candidates to replace Giavotella, who is third on the team in on-base percentage and fifth in runs scored.

"[We'll] just try to get our lineup top-heavy and see if we can't do some better things then we've shown for most of this month," Scioscia said.

As for the rotation, Tropeano's next turn will come next weekend in Cleveland. The right-hander could be recalled in time to make that start if Giavotella goes on the disabled list. If not, Matt Shoemaker, demoted to triple A last week, could take his place.

Shoemaker did not give up an earned run in six innings in a triple-A start Saturday.

"There's a lot of things that could come into play," Scioscia said.

Hall of Fame adds 3

The Angels inducted outfielder Tim Salmon and pitchers Dean Chance and Mike Witt into their Hall of Fame in pregame ceremonies Saturday.

Salmon, 46, spent his entire 14-year career with the Angels, winning the American League's rookie-of-the-year award in 1993 and a World Series title in 2002.

"This is still one of those deals I'm trying to process," Salmon, who batted .282 with a franchise-best 299 home runs, said of the Hall of Fame honor. "When you think of all the players that have put on an Angel uniform and then you look at the ones that they've highlighted as the greatest of all time, those are the guys I was looking up to as a young player.

"And to be in that same category — and I know my numbers justify it — it just seems weird."

Chance, 74, was an original Angel, making four starts in the team's inaugural season in 1961. Three years later he won 20 games and the Cy Young Award, leading the league with a 1.65 ERA and 11 shutouts.

"The Angels are a special team," said Chance, who played for four other teams before retiring after 11 seasons and 128 wins.

Witt, 55, who was drafted out of nearby Servite High, spent his first 10 big league seasons with the Angels, winning 109 games and throwing the only perfect game in franchise history in 1984.

On the mend

Infielder Taylor Featherston, on the disabled list with an upper back strain, is expected to join the Angels' triple-A affiliate for a series in Round Rock, Texas, Sunday to begin a minor league rehab assignment. He is expected to be joined by third baseman David Freese, who is recovering from a fractured right index finger.

There is a chance Freese, who has been out a month, could rejoin the Angels this week.