Notes: Matthews not on ALDS roster
Right-hander Colon also injured, won't play vs. Boston
BOSTON -- Gary Matthews Jr., so close to fulfilling a dream with his first career postseason appearance, was forced off the Angels' American League Division Series roster on Tuesday when he was unable to gain sufficient strength and mobility in his tendinitis-plagued left knee.Reggie Willits will be in center field behind John Lackey in Wednesday night's series opener against the Red Sox, with Chone Figgins in right field and Maicer Izturis at third base. Vladimir Guerrero, still not quite ready to throw effectively with triceps inflammation, will be the designated hitter. Also pulled off the 25-man roster after experiencing pain in his throwing elbow was veteran right-hander Bartolo Colon, whose place was taken by versatile right-hander Dustin Moseley. Chris Bootcheck, a middle-relief mainstay all season, was disappointed to learn he'd been left off the staff for the first round, the club choosing to add another bench player to the mix. Colon had been part of the original 10-man pitching staff assembled by manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher before the pain returned to the elbow, an injury that cost him seven weeks of second-half action. Matthews injured the knee chasing a fly ball in Texas in the first inning on Sept. 26. He was unable to play in the final three regular-season games in Oakland but had hoped the knee would come around by Wednesday. After taking batting practice with the team on Tuesday, Matthews -- a Gold Glove-caliber center fielder in his first season with the Angels -- realized he was in no condition to play. "I'm injured," he said. "There's a difference between playing in pain and trying to play injured. It's really painful to go out and do those things I need to do. I can't play at that level to help this team. It's definitely frustrating. "Hopefully, after this first round I'll be able to play at the level I feel I need to be. I'd love to be able to give it a try, but I've got to be honest. I can't play at that level to help this team. It's definitely frustrating." If the Angels get past the Red Sox, Matthews hopes he'll have enough mobility and strength in the knee to get back on the field for the AL Championship Series. "It's not quite right yet, but it's not far off," he said. "We don't have time. Maybe in 10 days, to start the next series, I'll be able to go out and play." Matthews was told by the medical staff that he'll need the offseason to recover from the injury.
Scioscia adjusts: He's nothing if not adaptable, but this was not what Scioscia had in mind when he arrived at Fenway Park hoping Matthews would be his center fielder and Colon would be in the bullpen."We've had to play without Gary for some stretches," Scioscia said. "He's a big part of what we did in the summer to get here. We have to figure out what to do with some of the depth we have, as we have all year. "Our depth has gotten us here, and it's going to have to get us through it." Matthews was having a strong offensive season before slipping into a late slump related to injuries to the knee and a sprained ankle. His primary value is in center, where he has saved countless runs for the pitching staff.
"The defense he brings has been a constant and has made us a better club," Scioscia said. "Even when he hasn't been swinging the way he can, his defense has been consistent. We're going to have to get it from other people."That would be Willits and Haynes, rookies on the spot. Both have speed and the ability to handle the position, but neither has Matthews' experience or pedigree. Moseley ran the gamut of emotions on Tuesday, from thinking he'd been left off the roster to learning that Colon's removal had put him back on. Not as lucky was his buddy Bootcheck. "Who didn't deserve [to make the roster]?" Moseley said. "We all put our part in. Ten minutes ago, it was unfair to me and now it's fair. It's still unfair to Boot. But it's part of the game." Eyeing big series: An infection had Anderson's right eye looking as if he'd just gone a few rounds with an in-his-prime Mike Tyson -- not the optimum way to go into a primetime showdown with the Red Sox. "My vision's clear, and as long as I can see clearly, I'm all right," Anderson said. "I don't like it, of course. But I'm glad I can see. At least I can play. I've been to see the optometrist, and nothing is wrong in the eye. That's the big thing." Anderson has been a driving force through the second half after spending most of the first half trying to recover from a hip flexor tear suffered running the bases on a cold April night in Chicago. Hitting .285 with a modest .424 slugging mark (three homers, 15 RBIs) in 40 games at the All-Star break, Anderson was the run-producing machine of years past in the second half. In 68 games, running freely in left field again, he batted .305 with a .530 slugging percentage in 68 games. He had 13 homers and 65 RBIs. Empathetic K-Rod: Francisco Rodriguez was hurting for fellow closer Trevor Hoffman after watching the all-time saves leader take the heartbreaking loss for the Padres in the 13th inning of their National League Wild Card-deciding game in Colorado on Monday night. "Trevor's been so good for so long," K-Rod said. "He puts so much work into it for nine months, 10 months, the whole year really. And then it's over just like that. It's amazing how quick it happens. "I was really feeling bad for him. I know how it feels. You feel like you let a lot of people down. You hate to see that happen to a guy like Trevor." K-Rod also felt sadness for his former pitching coach, Buddy Black, whose first season as the Padres' manager ended with such anguish. "Buddy, of course, in his first year ... that was really sad," K-Rod said. "He was really important to all of us, and to see that happen was really a shame. That team had a lot of injuries and fought back. And then it's over, just like that."
Darling gets nod: Gary Darling, a 21-year Major League umpire, will be behind the plate when the Angels and Red Sox kick off their series on Wednesday. Darling's crew will include Dan Iassogna, Brian Runge, Ted Barrett, regular-season crew chief Tim Tschida and CB Bucknor.
This is Darling's seventh Division Series assignment and his 11th postseason series, while it will be Tschida's seventh Division Series assignment and 12th overall. Barrett will be working his sixth Division Series and seventh playoff series overall. Iassogna and Runge will each be making a second postseason appearance, while this is the first for Bucknor.
Up next: American League ERA champion Lackey (19-9, 3.01) faces Josh Beckett (20-7, 3.27) in a duel of two of the game's premier right-handers in Game 1 of the ALDS at 3:37 p.m. PT.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.