The Los Angeles Angels return home for a brief three-game homestand against the Boston Red Sox, and they have a familiar face batting third. Albert Pujols is back in the lineup after missing four games with inflammation in his right calf.
Pujols still feels sore and will be able to bat, and is the designated hitter for the Halos on Tuesday. But as manager Mike Scioscia noted, just being able to swing the bat wasn't the only concern in letting Pujols play.
"Swinging the bat wasn't as much an issue over the weekend as it was what happened when he hit the ball," Scioscia said. "Albert is a little more comfortable, as our medical staff is, that he can put a little governor on and not be at risk running the bases."
Batting three spot behind Pujols is Howie Kendrick, who has a 13-game hitting streak, the longest hitting streak by an Angel this season. Kendrick is hitting .353/.400/.608 with eight extra-base hits in 13 games during the streak.
"I think Howie has gotten into a comfort zone. In his last 40 or 50 at-bats, he's definitely found a great approach at the plate, seeing the ball and hitting it hard, and he's on a roll," Scioscia said.
With the addition of Zack Greinke, Garrett Richards was bumped from the starting rotation, and was optioned to Triple A Salt Lake for three weeks. Since getting recalled last week Richards has been up and down in the bullpen in three games. He picked up a save on Friday in Detroit, getting the final two outs of the game, but has allowed runs in his other two outings.
But for a team fighting to make the postseason, Richards' role will be in the bullpen, and Scioscia feels the rookie has a chance to succeed in the later innings.
"There are big adjustments going from a starter to the bullpen. Garrett's got to make a quick study of it, and hopefully his arm will play in the bullpen to help us moving forward," Scioscia said. "I think he's got a power arm that can possibly play in the back end of the pen."
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