Eye problem sidelines Anderson
Outfielder leaves after second as vision in right eye worsens
ANAHEIM -- Garret Anderson's ongoing problems with conjunctivitis in his right eye finally took him out of the lineup on Sunday after the second inning of Game 3 of the American League Division Series at Angel Stadium.Anderson, who played through the first two games in Boston even though the eye was half-closed, lined out in his first at-bat to end the first inning against Curt Schilling. Anderson went to the left-field line to field Mike Lowell's double in the top of the second inning and made a throw to third. After Jered Weaver pitched out of a two-on, none-out jam, Anderson came to the dugout and apparently concluded he could not see well enough to continue.
"It was my decision," Anderson said of calling it a day. "I couldn't react in the outfield the way I needed to. I don't offer any excuses. [We] take responsibility that they beat us. That's the bottom line."
Anderson had gamely tried to provide his team much-needed muscle in the heart of the order, but a half-closed right eye isn't an optimal condition for a hitter studying 96 mph fastballs and sharp-breaking offspeed stuff in a playoff series.Rookie Reggie Willits, who played center field in Game 1 in Boston, took Anderson's place in left.
The Angels' biggest threat came in the third inning, after Weaver had left runners at second and third by retiring three hitters in a row, striking out Jason Varitek and Coco Crisp.
Singles by Juan Rivera and Cabrera and a walk to Vladimir Guerrero loaded the bases with two outs. This brought up Anderson's spot, now occupied by Willits. He fouled out on a nice running catch by Varitek.Anderson was 2-for-8 coming into the series, getting a pair of hits in Game 2 after going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts against Josh Beckett in the opener. "I want to play, be out there," said Anderson, whose booming second-half bat helped drive the Angels to their third AL West title in four seasons after he recovered from a hip flexor tear. "It sounds like an excuse to me, and I don't want make excuses."
The Angels already were without their center fielder, Gary Matthews Jr., who was forced out of the series with tendinitis in his left knee.Right fielder Guerrero also was in subpar condition, having taken a fastball from Red Sox reliever Manny Delcarmen behind his left shoulder in the seventh inning of Game 2. Guerrero was forced out of that game an inning later, but he was in the lineup on Sunday after undergoing treatment on Saturday.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.