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Mark Trumbo and Jeff Mathis in Angels lineup vs. A's

September 25, 2011 | 11:46 am

Mark-trumbo_600

Mark Trumbo, who was pulled from Saturday night's game in the seventh inning because of right ankle discomfort, was penciled in to the lineup for Sunday's must-win game against the Oakland Athletics in Angel Stadium.

But after the rookie first baseman went through a pregame workout and some running drills, Manager Mike Scioscia said Trumbo would definitely start. The Angels enter play 2 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox in the American League wild-card race with four games left.

The ankle has been bothering Trumbo off and on for about a month, and playing four games on the artificial turf in Toronto last week "didn't help," Scioscia said.

Trumbo, who leads the team with 29 homers and 89 runs batted in, said he would have the ankle X-rayed Monday, but as long as the Angels are in wild-card contention, he said he will play. Had Trumbo been scratched Sunday, Scioscia would have moved second baseman Howie Kendrick to first and started Maicer Izturis at second.

Catcher Jeff Mathis, who is hitting .178 with three homers and 22 RBIs, is also in the lineup, a move that fans frustrated with Mathis' feeble bat will not agree with. They think switch-hitting rookie Hank Conger would be a better option.

But Mathis is clearly the better defender of the two, and it's not as if Conger has been the second coming of Johnny Bench this season; he's batting .214 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 58 games.

"No catcher is lighting it up offensively," Scioscia said. "It's better to get [Mathis'] defensive presence in there now and make any moves we need to later in the game."

The lineups

Angels

SS Erick Aybar

2B Howie Kendrick

DH Bobby Abreu

RF Torii Hunter

1B Mark Trumbo

3B Alberto Callaspo

LF Vernon Wells

CF Peter Bourjos

C Jeff Mathis

P Joel Pineiro

Athletics

2B Jemile Weeks

CF Coco Crisp

DH Hideki Matsui

LF Josh Willingham

RF David DeJesus

3B Scott Sizemore

1B Brandon Allen

SS Erick Sogard

C Landon Powell

P Rich Harden

MORE:

Torii Hunter keeps Angels in playoff chase

Mike Trout could benefit from starting next year in minors

Angels' loss to the A's eliminates them from the AL West race

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo connects for an RBI single against the Blue Jays last week in Toronto. Credit: Mark Blinch / Reuters

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