Notes: 10-RBI man ponders 3,000 hits
Figgins day-to-day with bruised wrist; Wood returns to back up
ANAHEIM -- There was a time when the magic number for any hitter -- 3,000 -- was in Garret Anderson's mind. But physical issues the past four seasons, he says, have pushed that goal into the background for now."I've lost a lot of games to injuries," Anderson said, back to work after his amazing two-homer, 10-RBI performance bludgeoned the Yankees on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. "I'd have to stay on the field to take a run at it. Sure, I'd like to give it a shot, but that's a long way off." Coming into the series finale with the Yanks, Anderson was 836 hits shy of 3,000, one of the enduring measuring sticks for Hall of Fame candidates, right alongside 300 wins for pitchers. With a career-high 201 hits in 2003, including 49 doubles and 29 homers along with 116 RBIs, Anderson was positioning himself nicely for a run at 3,000. But then a case of inflammatory arthritis sent one of the game's most durable players to the DL for the first time in his career, confining him to 112 games in 2004. Injuries persisted the past two seasons, causing him to miss a total of 41 games, and this year two trips to the DL with a right hip flexor tear have cost him 49 games. "The leg feels good now," Anderson said. "I'm not even thinking about it any more. I feel like I'm running well. I just want to keep it this way." Anderson, assuming he gets to 2,200 hits with 36 more this season, would need to average 160 for five seasons to reach 3,000. Having turned 35 on June 30, he keeps himself in excellent condition and has to be given a realistic shot, especially with the DH as an option in his final seasons. Craig Biggio this season became the 27th player to reach 3,000 hits, and entered Wednesday 17 shy of Rod Carew, who is 21st on the list at 3,053. All those who made it to 3,000 reached the Hall of Fame, with Rickey Henderson (3,055) and Rafael Palmeiro (3,020), like Biggio, not yet eligible. There have been 23 men to reach 300 wins, and all but the not-yet-eligible threesome of Roger Clemens, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine have plaques in Cooperstown. Favorite standard surprising: For all of his accomplishments -- franchise records in hits, RBIs (1,178), total bases (3,429) and doubles (454) -- what means the most to Anderson is the club-record 28-game hitting streak he put together in 1998. That gave him a profound appreciation of Joe DiMaggio's record run to 56 in 1941. "I don't know what it is about that hitting streak, but that's the one," Anderson said. "I got halfway to DiMaggio, and it was a lot to get through to get that far. You have a sense you don't have a chance to breathe doing it. You get asked a lot of questions about it, and it's always on your mind. It's fun to keep it going, the challenge of it. I guess that's what it is." The Angels retrieved the ball that landed in the right-field seats on his grand slam against Yankees southpaw Sean Henn, the eighth slam of Anderson's career. It was sitting in a shoe in his locker late Tuesday night. "I'll put it in a sock and in a box somewhere," Anderson said. Angels vice president of communications "Tim Mead brought it to me. I have some souvenir balls at home -- [hits No.] 500, 1,000, 1,500 and 2,000. Guys put things in a box and keep it somewhere. And I'll keep this one." Figgins day-to-day: Chone Figgins has a bone bruise on the outside of his left wrist, an examination revealed on Wednesday. Figgins was given an MRI and CAT scan, and he was listed as day-to-day.
Figgins was not in the lineup in his customary leadoff spot as the Angels went for a sweep against the Yankees. Reggie Willits assumed the leadoff role with Maicer Izturis at third base.
Figgins is the AL's fourth-leading hitter at .335, 16 points off Magglio Ordonez's lead through Tuesday. But that's only part of the Figgins story. Despite missing the first month of the season with two fractured fingertips, he is fifth in steals with 34, and he's eighth in the AL with a .356 average with runners in scoring position. He also has played solid defense at third."Figgy's a tough kid," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He plays banged up and usually doesn't show it. This is something he's battled for about a month on and off from the right side. Hopefully, it's not a prolonged thing. It's not like it's a constant thing." Wood arrives: Adding insurance at third and a loud bat off the bench, the Angels summoned super-prospect Brandon Wood from Triple-A Salt Lake for the fourth time. "I hope I stick around a little longer this time," Wood said, grinning. He's expected to back up Izturis at third and Orlando Cabrera at shortstop, his natural position, while Figgins mends. Erick Aybar is on the DL.
Wood, who has been swinging a hot bat with a Salt Lake-high 20 homers and 71 RBIs while batting .264, was amazed by the way outfielder Juan Rivera started driving the ball for the Bees in his recovery from an offseason broken leg."He's out a year without facing live pitching, and he returns and is drilling the ball," Wood said. "That guy can hit." Colon headed to Colorado Springs: Bartolo Colon will get his first taste of competition since going to the DL on July 24 with elbow irritation when he pitches for Salt Lake at altitude against Colorado Springs on Saturday. Scioscia said Colon is expected to throw in the 35- to 40-pitch range, three or four innings. Minor sensation: In Class A Cedar Rapids' 6-1 win over Burlington, right-hander Sean O'Sullivan (10-6, 2.18 ERA) yielded four hits and one earned run in eight innings, walking none and striking out six. On Aug. 22 in Angels history: Troy Percival in 2003 set a club record -- later broken by successor Francisco Rodriguez -- with his 20th consecutive successful save. Up next: Hoping to replicate his dominant effort in Boston, Ervin Santana (5-11, 5.96) faces righty Jesse Litsch (4-6, 3.49) in Thursday's 7:05 p.m. PT opener of a four-game set against Toronto.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.