Albert Pujols, slowed by lower-back spasms that knocked him out of Friday night’s game in the sixth inning, did not start Saturday night against the Rangers, only the second time this season the first baseman has not been in the lineup.
“I felt it two steps before I got to home plate when I scored on [Erick] Aybar’s hit,” Pujols said.
“It kind of locked up and grabbed me. I had spasms, and I felt pretty sore. I think I could play today, but it’s smart to give it another day because I don’t want to take two or three steps backward.”
Pujols, who is batting .255 with 16 homers and 44 runs batted in on the season but only .167 (14 for 84) with runners in scoring position, missed only one other game this season, May 29 at Seattle.
Rookie reliever Cam Bedrosian, whom Manager Mike Scioscia deemed ready to protect a two-run lead in the 10th inning at Cleveland on Thursday, was demoted to double-A Arkansas on Saturday.
Bedrosian left Thursday’s game after allowing the Indians to load the bases with one out, and Nick Swisher hit a two-out grand slam off Ernesto Frieri for a 5-3 win. The 22-year-old right-hander went 0-1 with a 14.29 earned run average in six games.
The Angels also recalled right-handed reliever David Carpenter and first baseman/outfielder Efren Navarro from triple-A Salt Lake.
Close to returning
Tyler Skaggs, on the disabled list because of a right hamstring strain, threw a four-inning, 62-pitch simulated game on Saturday.
Pitching coach Mike Butcher said the left-hander “looked good” and had “no issues” with his injured leg, and Scioscia said Skaggs could return to the rotation later this week.
Hitting coach Don Baylor, 2 1/2 months removed from surgery to repair a broken leg, was in uniform and walking without a noticeable limp on Saturday.
Baylor said he expects to be cleared by doctors on Tuesday to return to the dugout and resume his full-time coaching duties.