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Hunter can only watch from on-deck circle as Angels season ends

September 26, 2011 | 11:16 pm

Torii-hunter_600

Torii Hunter makes $18 million a season, but the Angels right fielder felt more like a pauper as he stood in the on-deck circle in the bottom of the ninth inning Monday night.

Howie Kendrick was up against hard-throwing Texas closer Neftali Feliz with two outs and the potential tying run at first base, and the Angels battling to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

"Just get me up, get me up," Hunter said, when asked what he was thinking in the on-deck circle. "I was begging, please, get me up. I was talking to Howie, trying to pump him up."

Hunter has been to the playoffs six times, but he's never played in a World Series. He's been the Angels' best pressure performer in the final two months of the season, batting .324 with 10 homers and 31 RBIs since Aug. 1 and delivering numerous clutch hits to keep the Angels in playoff contention.

But he didn't get another chance. Kendrick struck out, and the Rangers held on for a 4-3 victory that officially eliminated the Angels from the American League wild-card race. They are three games behind the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays with two games to play.

"Feliz is pretty good, and when Howie struck out it was deflating," Hunter said. "I really wanted to be up there in that spot. You get the adrenaline going. I like that. I live for that. I wanted to be there in that situation. It just didn't work out."

MORE:

Angels eliminated from playoff race with 4-3 loss to Texas

Mark Trumbo to miss final games because of foot injury

Joel Pineiro ends the season on a high note

--Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Angels right fielder Torii Hunter is congratulated after scoring against the Texas Rangers on a single by Mike Trout in the sixth inning Monday night. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times

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