06/27/10 9:08 PM ET
Vlad returns to LA with first-place Rangers
By John Barone / MLB.com
Forgive the Angels, though, if welcoming Vladimir Guerrero in his return to Angel Stadium on Tuesday night isn't their most pressing concern. The top priority for manager Mike Scioscia's club, of course, is surpassing Guerrero's new team, the Rangers, who lead the Halos by 4 1/2 games in the American League West.
Guerrero, who spent the past six seasons in Anaheim before signing a one-year contract with Texas in January, batted .319 with 173 home runs and 616 RBIs to help lead the Angels to five AL West titles. The 366 total bases and 124 runs he totaled in his Most Valuable Player campaign of 2004 stand as franchise records.
The 35-year-old Guerrero hasn't slowed down this season, hitting .327 with 15 homers and 60 RBIs for the front-running Rangers.
"We wouldn't be where we are right now if it wasn't for Vlad," Texas reliever Darren Oliver said. "I'm glad he's on my team."
Scott Feldman likely feels the same way. The Rangers right-hander will take the mound opposite Joel Pineiro on Tuesday, eager to wipe his last start from memory -- a six-inning, no-decision Thursday against the lowly Pirates in which he was tagged for five runs on 12 hits.
Pineiro, riding a personal four-game winning streak, has experienced no such struggles in recent weeks. The 31-year-old righty has surrendered a total of three runs over his past three starts, logging at least seven innings in each.
"He's very tough on righties," Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder said after Pineiro defeated Milwaukee earlier this month. "They have a tough time with his sinker. It's a battle for all of us every time he pitches against us. He's really locked in."
Rangers: Hamilton red-hot heading to SoCal
Left fielder Josh Hamilton extended his career-best hitting streak to 21 games Sunday with a two-run homer to right field in his first at-bat of the evening against Roy Oswalt. The homer, which was the second longest in Rangers Ballpark history at 468 feet, leaves him just seven hits shy of tying the club record of 28 consecutive games with a hit, set by Gabe Kapler in 2000. Hamilton's streak matches the current streak by the Royals' Jose Guillen for the longest in the Majors this season. ... First baseman Justin Smoak's 22 RBIs in June are a franchise rookie record.
Angels: Big A has been good to Halos
The Halos have not been swept at home in 76 consecutive series, the longest such stretch since the Braves went 84 sets from 2003-06 without receiving the broom treatment. ... The Angels top the Majors with 67 June victories since 2007.
The Angels are 40-37 against the Rangers since 2006. ... Pineiro is 7-5 with a 4.95 ERA in 28 career appearances (15 starts) vs. Texas.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.