Angels place Hunter, Guerrero on DL
Center fielder out for Classic; Vlad's timeline three weeks
ANAHEIM -- Vladimir Guerrero was smiling -- a very good sign for Angels fans. He pointed to the area behind his left knee, where he has a muscle strain, and said, "Maybe three weeks ... maybe less."
Three weeks would certainly beat the Angels' worst fears, which would have been three months or more of idle time for the big bopper after he departed Wednesday night's 8-1 loss to the Rangers with an injury unrelated to his offseason right knee surgery.
Guerrero and Torii Hunter -- two-thirds of one of the game's premier outfields -- will not be available to the Angels this weekend against the Yankees and during the seven-game road trip to Oakland and Kansas City that follows the All-Star break.
Beyond that, it's a guessing game as to how long the Angels will have to make do without the No. 3 (Hunter) and No. 4 (Guerrero) hitters in manager Mike Scioscia's lineup, simultaneously placed on the disabled list on Friday.
Scioscia put Guerrero's timeline at three to four weeks, Hunter's at two to three weeks as he recovers from an adductor strain in his right side.
"Both guys are significant," Scioscia said. "I don't think this is a seven- to 10-day thing. We'll see how it plays out."
The Angels are equipped with quality depth in the outfield. Gary Matthews Jr., a 2006 All-Star center fielder for the Rangers, slides into Hunter's spot -- supported by Reggie Willits -- with Juan Rivera and Bobby Abreu in left and right, respectively. Robb Quinlan and third baseman Chone Figgins, each with considerable experience in the outfield, are also available.
Guerrero, recovering from a torn pectoral muscle, had primarily been a designated hitter this season, playing only two games in right field. An eight-time Gold Glove Award-winning center fielder who likely has another on the way, Hunter has been the club's primary offensive force, in the midst of a career year with 17 homers and 65 RBIs. Hunter is batting .305 with a .558 slugging percentage, while Guerrero is batting .290 and slugging .415.
"The timeline is two to three weeks," said Hunter, whose injury originated with a collision with a Dodger Stadium wall on May 22. "Hopefully, it's not that long. It's been two days, and it feels better already.
"Even though it might feel good, there might be some things lingering after the All-Star break. I want to last the whole season. Fifteen days should be enough.
"The [American League West] race is still close. We need extra guys. It's tough [mentally]. It's hard for me to accept the disabled list. I haven't been on there [since 2006 with the Twins]. I want to be out there with my guys."
In the absence of their two most dangerous weapons in the heart of the lineup, the Angels will lean on Rivera, Kendry Morales, Mike Napoli, Abreu, Matthews and Brandon Wood as power sources while continuing to accent speed and daring on the bases with Figgins, Maicer Izturis, Abreu and Erick Aybar.
Summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake, Wood -- who can play first and third as well as shortstop -- would be delighted to provide some muscle given the opportunity.
Catcher Bobby Wilson also was summoned from Salt Lake to back up Jeff Mathis, enabling Napoli to take at least some, and maybe most, of the DH at-bats.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.