Angels exploring trade options for depth
With Texas acquiring Lee, LA could use bat by Deadline
OAKLAND -- Angels starter Jered Weaver said he doesn't think the team needs to react to the Clff Lee swap with a trade of its own, saying Los Angeles is fine as is.
Manager Mike Scioscia said something along the same lines, but reiterated that general manager Tony Reagins has been open to trade discussions since Kendry Morales went down with his season-ending injury on May 29.
"Our lineup needs to get deeper," Scioscia said. "If there's someone out there who is going to make us deeper, Tony is going to act on it. As of right now, there hasn't been a lot presented that is going to be doable for what other teams are looking for and what we might have."
Scioscia said if the team was to trade for another bat before the July 31 Trade Deadline, he would prefer it was a player who was signed past the 2010 season, even with the Lee trade finalized.
"Our philosophy is not to bring someone in here for two or three months and empty your cupboard in the Minor Leagues to do it," Scioscia said.
With Lee in Texas, Angels find road tougher
OAKLAND -- With Seattle trading ace starting pitcher Cliff Lee to Texas on Friday, the Angels' road to the top of the American League West appears to have gotten a bit tougher.
As Lee moved from the cellar to the first-place Rangers, a few Angels players thought it was peculiar to see such a high-profile player stay within the division.
"It's pretty odd," said first baseman Mike Napoli. "You never want a good player like that to come back and face you and shove it up your behind a little bit. He's a good player; it's going to make it tougher for us to get to our goal."
There has never been a doubt about the ability of Texas' robust batting order this season. But adding a front-line starter to a rotation that already features Colby Lewis (8-5, 3.33 ERA), C.J. Wilson (7-4, 3.24) and Tommy Hunter (5-0, 2.34 in seven starts) certainly makes the Rangers more dangerous.
Still, Napoli said the trade won't directly affect the way Los Angeles will approach the rest of its season. Angels starter Scott Kazmir said one player won't impact the entire AL West.
"I wouldn't say the entire division changed," Kazmir said. "It's just they got one guy they can count on -- day in, day out -- to go up there and throw up zeroes. I think we'll be just fine. Hopefully the heat will get to Cliff Lee in time and we'll have a nice run going after this All-Star break, and everything won't matter."
Torii Hunter said he's hoping history can repeat itself.
"You never see a trade within the same division," Hunter said. "At least not since Babe Ruth got traded to the Yankees, and that brought a curse to Boston until 2004."
The Angels -- who sat 5 1/2 games back of the Rangers entering play Friday -- have only faced Lee once this season. In that outing on May 28 in Anaheim, Lee lasted eight innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks while striking out 10.
Los Angeles will likely face Lee in the coming weeks, as it plays a four-game set in Arlington from July 22-25 and then hosts the Rangers for a three-game series from July 30-Aug. 1.
"You do get to see him more," Napoli said. "But he's still good. He still gets outs and locates and doesn't walk people, he throws strikes. He's still tough, but the more you get to see him, you'd like to think you have a better chance."
Despite pulling off the biggest trade in baseball so far this season, the Rangers don't sound like they are comfortable with their current first-place standing.
"We have a lot of respect for the Angels and the other clubs in the division," said Texas general manager Jon Daniels. "We're not taking anything for granted. They are the team to beat, and we have a lot of games left with them. Every start and every win we're able to get will help. Every acquisition we make, we want to do it sooner than later so it will have more of an impact."
T.R. Sullivan contributed to this report.
Lengthy starts paying dividends for bullpen
OAKLAND -- Though he didn't get the win, Ervin Santana's eight-inning performance in a 1-0 loss to the White Sox on Thursday was the latest example of an Angels starter going deep.
Entering play Friday, the Los Angeles starters led the Majors with 548 innings pitched, and were tops in the American League with eight complete games. Though his starters struggled to begin the season, manager Mike Scioscia said he's been pleased with the overall season the rotation has put together so far.
"It's not just the innings pitched, it's the quality of innings -- good innings, getting deep into games with a chance to win," Scioscia said. "With some of the issues we've faced, we've been able to hold our heads above water primarily because these guys -- every time out, for the most part -- have pitched to a certain point of the game and given us a chance to win."
The rotation's consistency has also helped out the bullpen, allowing Scioscia to use his best relievers in more ideal situations.
"We haven't had too many overuse problems with [Fernando] Rodney, [Kevin] Jepsen or [Brian] Fuentes," Scioscia said. "Some things we've had in the past, like last year at times, was overuse of those guys."
Scioscia isn't the only one to notice. Reliever Scot Shields said the rotation's ability to pitch deep has benefitted the bullpen greatly.
"You can tell, from a reliever's standpoint," Shields said. "You feel healthy, you feel fresh and ready to go, and that's a big plus for us down there."
Izturis takes swings, but still 'days away'
OAKLAND -- Maicer Izturis, on the 15-day disabled list since June 16 with a strained left forearm, took swings off a tee and in soft toss on Friday.
"He's not really swinging full-out yet," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "But there have been no problems with his progression. You definitely need to give his tissue time to heal and get back stretched out."
Scioscia said Izturis, one of the team's most versatile infield options, is still "days away" from being full strength.
"We'll keep working him out after the break and see where he is," Scioscia said.
Alex Espinoza is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.