Angels’ Vargas to have surgery for blood clot; Bourjos avoids DL

Angels pitcher Jason Vargas is expected to miss at least three weeks after surgery to remove a blood clot.
(Gail Burton / Associated Press)

DETROIT — Angels pitcher Jason Vargas will undergo surgery this week to remove a blood clot from his left armpit area, a procedure that is expected to sideline the left-hander for three weeks to a month.

Vargas was examined Monday by Dr. Peter Lawrence of the UCLA Medical Center. Lawrence confirmed the initial diagnosis and recommended surgery, which will be performed by Dr. Russell Montgomery.

Vargas, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a 6-4 record and 3.65 earned run average in 14 starts, will not be able to throw for at least two weeks. But once he resumes throwing, he should have enough arm strength to return after a few bullpen sessions and a minor league start.

Vargas was the American League pitcher of the month in May, when he went 5-0 with a 2.30 ERA and, with about $4.5 million left on his one-year deal, he figured to be a prime target of contenders looking to acquire pitching help before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.

The blood clot could hamper the Angels’ efforts to trade Vargas for prospects who could bolster the team’s weak farm system. But if Vargas recovers in a timely fashion, he should be able to make a few starts before July 31 to prove he is sound.


The Angels also confirmed that center fielder Peter Bourjos, who left Sunday’s game after hurting his left thumb sliding into second base, is day to day and will not need to return to the disabled list.

Bourjos, who missed 40 games this season because of a left hamstring strain, was diagnosed with a thumb contusion. An MRI test revealed no structural damage. He was scheduled to join the Angels in Detroit today.


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