05/20/12 11:20 PM ET
Wells, Langerhans likely headed to DL
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
Angels forced to get creative on defense
SAN DIEGO -- A wacky game reached a whole new level in the bottom of the 11th, when the Angels were forced to make an array of defensive changes after injuries to two left fielders and the grind of extra innings forced manager Mike Scioscia to burn all of his position players in Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Padres in 13 innings.Ryan Langerhans, who entered the game partly because left fielder Vernon Wells exited in the third with a thumb injury, hurt his right shoulder up against the left-field wall while trying to track down a John Baker double to start the bottom the 11th. That forced Scioscia to bring in his final reserve, catcher John Hester. And that caused a chain reaction of position changes -- catcher Bobby Wilson to first, first baseman Albert Pujols to third, third baseman Maicer Izturis to second, second baseman Howie Kendrick to left field and all sorts of gloves being exchanged in hopes of keeping the game tied at 2. "You play long enough," Mark Trumbo said, "you're going to see some crazy things." With one out and a runner on third, Scioscia then brought in five infielders -- prompting Kendrick to once again switch gloves -- and had an uncovered left field against Padres center fielder Cameron Maybin, who David Carpenter struck out before retiring Chase Headley on a groundout to end the threat. Two innings later, though, the defensive switches cost the Angels. Will Venable sprayed a line-drive single to left-center field that Kendrick charged and then bobbled, allowing Padres starter Clayton Richard to score from first base and plate the winning run. "Howie played some left field last year and did a fine job," Scioscia said. "The ball hopped up a little bit, and that happens." Kendrick spent 23 games in left field in 2011 and said he felt comfortable out there -- except on that one play. "It wasn't like I hadn't been out there before," Kendrick said. "Balls like that, you just have to keep them in front and make sure they don't get past you. Right there, I made a mistake, and they ended up winning the game on it."
Aybar finds stroke in San Diego
SAN DIEGO -- The Erick Aybar the Angels thought they signed to a four-year extension finally showed up in the three-game series against the Padres, a stretch that saw the switch-hitting shortstop compile eight hits in 15 at-bats.On Saturday, Aybar went 4-for-4 with an RBI triple, a double, a single and a clutch performance in the ninth inning -- one that included a swinging-bunt infield single, a stolen base and an advance to third on an errant throw before being left stranded. "Hopefully he'll help us a lot when he starts to play catchup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "because he's not a .190 hitter." In one night, Aybar's batting average went from .197 to .221, with three of the switch-hitter's hits coming from the right side of the plate -- the side he struggled at mightily last year. This season, it's the left side Aybar has been working on, trying to remove some of the clutter in his stride and be smoother attacking the ball. "He's much quieter, a little less movement," Scioscia said, "and I think he's feeling a little better about that part."
Reliever LaTroy Hawkins (broken right pinkie) has been lightly throwing off flat ground, but is still at least a week away from being reexamined. Catcher Chris Iannetta (broken right wrist) will travel with the Angels to Oakland and Seattle this week, but is still confined to conditioning at this point.
Dan Haren's pinch-hit appearance in the 13th inning of Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Padres marked the first time an Angels pitcher had pinch-hit since Omar Olivares on June 10, 1998, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Mike Trout has hit safely in 11 of his last 14 games since May 5, batting .426 with 14 runs scored in that stretch. Albert Pujols, meanwhile, snapped an eight-game hitting streak after going 0-for-4 on Sunday -- but drew two walks for the first time since April 8. His batting average sits at .211.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.