Maicer Izturis returns to Angels' lineup and will bat third; Bobby Abreu gets day off
With right fielder and No. 3 hitter Bobby Abreu scheduled for a day off, the top of the Angels' lineup for the series finale against the Oakland Athletics on Thursday has a distinct table-setting feel.
Erick Aybar, who is batting .378 (10 for 32) with four doubles, two triples, six runs batted in and seven runs on this trip, will lead off, and Howie Kendrick will bat second. Maicer Izturis, who has missed three of the last four games because of a sore right knee, will bat third in front of Torii Hunter, Hideki Matsui and Mike Napoli.
"It's obviously just a special look at some different groupings because Bobby is out of the lineup," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "This gives us a good a chance as any [lineup] of setting the table for Torii, Hideki and Nap."
Right-hander Ervin Santana, who is 5-0 with a 1.80 earned-run average in his last five starts and has an 11-2 career record and 1.50 ERA against the A's, will start for the Angels. He will be paired with catcher Bobby Wilson, who has had an impact in his limited playing time this season: The Angels are 7-0 and their pitchers have combined for a 3.12 ERA in Wilson's seven starts.
"He really thinks the game out and does a good job," Scioscia said of Wilson. "He's not intimidated by anything."
-- Mike DiGiovanna in Oakland