An­der­son get­ting closer to re­turn

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - By Chris Fos­ter

Gar­ret An­der­son in­creased his work­outs Fri­day as he moves closer to re­turn­ing from a tear in his right hip flexor. An­der­son, who has not played since April 27, tested the in­jury on the basepath for the first time be­fore Fri­day’s game against the Dodgers.

“It felt good,” said An­der­son, who also took bat­ting prac­tice.

The An­gels, who have won eight of their last 10 games, have the lux­ury of tak­ing a cau­tious approach be­cause of their re­cent suc­cess and the emer­gence of out­fielder Reg­gie Wil­lits.

“G.A. is mak­ing progress,” Man­ager Mike Scios­cia said. “We will reeval­u­ate him this week­end. He still needs do some work­outs in the field.”

Scios­cia said it was too soon to de­ter­mine whether An­der­son would need a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment be­fore re­turn­ing to the lineup.

“We’ll see in the next cou­ple days where he is, then make that de­ci­sion,” Scios­cia said. “Even if you go out on a re­hab as­sign­ment, you still have to come back and ad­just to ma­jor league pitch­ing when you get back. Some­times it’s bet­ter to start that process right away.”

Wil­lits has pro­vided the An­gels with op­tions. He was hit­ting .384 in the 19 games since re­plac­ing An­der­son through Thurs­day, and the An­gels are av­er­ag­ing bet­ter than six runs in the last nine games.

Wil­lits’ speed helped man­u­fac­ture two runs Fri­day. He walked, then raced home on Or­lando Cabr­era’s dou­ble in the first in­ning. In the third, he slapped a sin­gle to left field and then stole sec­ond — his ninth steal, tops among Amer­i­can league rook­ies. Af­ter tak­ing third on Cabr­era’s grounder, Wil­lits scored on

ground­out. He added a two-run sin­gle in the sixth.

“Reg­gie works guys at the plate and ev­ery­one gets to see what the pitcher has,” An­gels pitcher John Lackey said. “He’ll make the guy throw six, seven, eight pitches. Guys like that are an­noy­ing to pitch to. At least the [power] hit­ters all have holes in their swing, so you can get them to chase some­thing. A guy like Reg­gie, some­times you just want to throw one down the mid­dle and say, ‘ here, just hit it’ ”

Sec­ond base­man Howie Ken­drick, out since April 17 be­cause of a bro­ken bone in his left hand, is close to re­turn­ing. Scios­cia said Ken­drick would con­tinue a re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion as­sign­ment un­til Mon­day, “Then we’ll see where he’s at.” Ken- drick was one for seven in the first two games of his re­hab as­sign­ment. . . . Re­lief pitcher tin Speier re­mains in Ari­zona with what Scios­cia said was a vi­ral syn­drome. . . . Third base- man er­ror in the fifth in­ning was his fourth in 17 games since re­turn­ing from the dis­abled list.

chris.fos­ter@la­times.com

Lori She­p­ler Los An­ge­les Times

NOT EVEN CLOSE: The An­gels’ Reg­gie Wil­lits steals sec­ond base in the third in­ning as Jeff Kent takes the throw. Wil­lits had two hits, scored two runs and knocked in two.

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