ST. PETERSBURG -- Shortstop Erick Aybar and reliever Scot Shields underwent MRIs on Friday, and "something did show up" on Aybar's, according to Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
Aybar has been out of the lineup for three consecutive days with a suspected sports hernia, an unusual occurrence for the durable shortstop, and Scioscia said he would be further examined next week before determining if he will return at any point this season.
Dr. John Preskitt, the Dallas-based doctor who performed the surgery to repair Torii Hunter's sports hernia, will be evaluating Aybar next week.
"Obviously, we're concerned about this, and he'll get evaluated next week and see what direction we're going to go with it," Scioscia said.
Aybar, scratched from the lineup Friday night with a "left leg strain," is hitting just .254 on the year with a .306 on-base percentage, but his speed has been a valuable asset for the Angels as he has stolen a career-high 20 bases and leads the Major Leagues with 17 bunt hits.
Scioscia said Shields' MRI showed "just a little inflammation" in his right elbow, and the staff is "trying to let it calm down" before making any decisions about his potential return. Scioscia appeared more optimistic about Shields getting back on the mound this season, however, when asked if the right-hander will pitch during the team's final 14 games.
"I think at some point, yes," Scioscia said.
Angels mix up lineup due to turf in Tampa Bay
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Angels lineup had a slightly different look Saturday night as manager Mike Scioscia gave Hideki Matsui and Bobby Abreu the day off and slotted Torii Hunter as the designated hitter.
With an afternoon game Sunday and the unforgiving turf at Tropicana Field taking its toll on his players, Scioscia decided to give some of his stars a little rest.
Hunter entered Saturday night's game having started 132 of the Angels' 147 games in the outfield, but Scioscia said the Trop's playing surface was punishing for anyone who isn't used to it, even the durable Hunter.
"I think when you're used to playing on turf every day, you absorb it a little better than coming in here for a couple days," Scioscia said. "So we're just trying to keep some guys off of it."
Matsui is batting .388 (33-for-85) since Aug. 14, and 14 of his 33 hits have been for extra bases -- including six home runs -- to give him a .706 slugging percentage during that stretch.
Reggie Willits, playing left field, made his sixth start of the year in the leadoff spot, and Juan Rivera moved over to right field and batted sixth. Peter Bourjos, hitting ninth in the order, got the start in center.
Brandon Wood, the hero of Friday night's 4-3 win after his game-winning solo homer in the ninth, got the nod at shortstop for the third straight night with Erick Aybar still out of the lineup.
After their 4-3 win against the Rays on Friday night, the Angels are 21-20 in one-run games. ... The Halos have won just four of their past 19 contests against American League East opponents, having gone 14-26 against the AL East (including a 3-4 record against the Rays) and 58-49 against the rest of the league. That sub-.500 record comes a year after finishing 26-17 against the East and two years removed from posting a 30-16 record against the division.
Adam Berry is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.