Torii Hunter's latest crash into an outfield wall forced him out of Monday's Angels game against the Giants in the fourth inning and left him with bruises. X-rays on his right rib cage were normal, but Hunter was not in the starting lineup for last night's game.
Nonetheless, Hunter insisted he has no regrets risking injury with his team holding an 8-0 lead.
"I know it's 8-0, but I can't let a ball drop," the Angels centerfielder said on MLB.com. "Sometimes it's stupid, but I've got to get it. It's what I do."
Hunter added, "That's probably as hard as I've hit a wall."
Hunter, who has won the Gold Glove eight successive seasons, hit the wall in left-center field at the 382-foot sign in the Giants' AT&T Park with his left shoulder first, then his head and right side. As he lay on the ground, he said he had trouble breathing.
"Torii plays at one speed," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "For the most part, he's such a tremendous athlete, he knows how to protect himself."
After one more minor-league rehab assignment, John Smoltz is expected to make his first appearance for the Red Sox next week, which will create a rare and interesting dilemma. What to do with all that pitching?
The Boston Globe's Tony Massarotti offered several plans for a team overstocked with solid pitching:
Plan A: Put struggling Daisuke Matsuzaka in the bullpen, even though he's on a $50 million contract.
Plan B: Trade Brad Penny.
Plan C: Send Tim Wakefield to the bullpen, although he leads the club with eight wins.
Plan D: Go with a six-man rotation.
Plan E: Put Smoltz in the bullpen.
Oh, the Red Sox also have prospect Clay Buchholz, who has a 1.74 ERA at triple-A Pawtucket and expressed frustration over his situation during an interview on NECN over the weekend.
Commissioner Bud Selig said on the Dan Patrick Show that while baseball gets criticized for its steroid problem, the media goes easy on the NFL.
"Baseball is held to a higher and different standard," Selig said. "Steroids were and are a societal problem, not a baseball problem. The comments in football that came out about the great Steelers teams of the 70s. Should they take the Super Bowls away from the Rooneys? We are held to a higher and different standard."
When Patrick suggested that perhaps baseball gets criticized more because its statistics are more sacred, Selig said, "It often times goes deeper than that. Baseball fans are extremely passionate about their sport."
Rays reliever Jason Isringhausen will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season. . . . The Texas Rangers have improved on the field and at the gate, but they still cut nearly 10 percent of their front-office staff. One factor: Owner Tom Hicks is seeking buyers for a majority interest in the club.