Angels shortstop Erick Aybar to sit out rest of season
Manager Mike Scioscia confirmed Monday what had been suspected for several days, that shortstop Erick Aybar has been shut down for the final two weeks of the season because of a suspected sports hernia in his left groin.
Aybar will travel to Texas on Tuesday to meet with Dr. John Preskitt, who performed surgery on right fielder Torii Hunter to repair a similar injury last November. If surgery is recommended, the procedure is relatively minor, and it would not impact the speedy Aybar going into next season.
Aybar said he initially injured his groin about two weeks ago, but he continued to play until he aggravated the injury diving for a ground ball in Cleveland on Wednesday night. Aybar was scratched from the lineup the following night and has not played since.
Aybar finishes with a .254 batting average and a .306 on-base percentage, considerable drop-offs from a 2009 season in which he hit .312 with a .353 on-base percentage. He scored 68 runs, had 18 doubles and 27 runs batted in and stole 20 bases.
The Angels were so confident in Aybar's development as a hitter that they let highly productive leadoff batter Chone Figgins go as a free agent last winter and inserted Aybar in the leadoff spot.
But Aybar struggled to find a balance between his usually aggressive offensive approach and the patience required of a leadoff batter, and he was demoted from the leadoff spot in early August.
He did have one good stretch from late June to late July, raising his average to .289 on July 24, but the switch-hitter batted only .187 (26 for 139) with nine runs and five RBIs in 37 games from Aug. 1 on.
-- Mike DiGiovanna
Photo: Erick Aybar. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times