Angels’ Torii Hunter’s plight sheds light on little-used rule


When the Angels placed outfielder Torii Hunter on baseball’s restricted list, it focused attention on a rarely used vehicle available to clubs in the major leagues.

Unlike the more commonly used disabled list, which is used for injuries and requires a player to sit out a specified minimum number of days, the restricted list offers the broadest and most flexible option for a team and player.

“It’s meant to be a convenience for both the club and the player — the club not to play short-handed and the player to tend to his circumstances,” MLB spokesman Mike Teevan said.

Placing a player on the restricted list requires a club to contact the head of baseball operations and review the circumstances, according to Teevan.

According to the terms by which MLB approved the Angels’ request Monday, Hunter can’t play and doesn’t count against the team’s 25-man and 40-man rosters. That allowed the team to make an immediate adjustment, which it did by adding Ryan Langerhans, an outfielder from triple-A Salt Lake.

Hunter can return at any time, though on Tuesday there was no indication when that might happen. Manager Mike Scioscia said only that Hunter’s absence was for a “personal issue” and declined to comment further.

Hunter’s 17-year-old son, Darius McClinton-Hunter of McKinney, Texas, was arrested in Prosper, Texas. Todd Shapiro, attorney for McClinton-Hunter, said his client was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree felony sexual assault of a child Monday when he posted $15,000 for bond.

The Collin County District Attorney has not yet accepted the case for prosecution, Shapiro said, and there is no court date.

On Monday, Hunter posted a message on his Twitter account that said, “This is very tough for a father. Thanks for ur prayers and support. Be Blessed everyone!”

Hunter’s teammates were reluctant to speak without knowing details, but expressed support for one of their most trusted leaders.

“We’d like to have him back as soon as possible, but family comes first,” pitcher Dan Haren said.

Added infielder-outfielder Mark Trumbo: “We all back him 100% and feel for him.”

The restricted list was used last year by the Dodgers for pitcher Ronald Belisario, who couldn’t enter the country after a positive test for cocaine. It was also used by the Miami (then Florida) Marlins last year when pitcher Leo Nunez, whose real name is Juan Carlos Oviedo, was involved with visa and identity issues.

Times staff writer Lance Pugmire contributed to this report.