Notes: Cabrera offers advice
Shortstop wants Figgins to be more aggressive at plate
ANAHEIM -- Orlando Cabrera has been an offensive catalyst for the Angels in their American League Championship Series against the White Sox.
Entering Friday's game, Cabrera is 3-for-8 with a double and an RBI on a team that is hitting just .190 in the first two games. The team has also scored just four runs in gaining a split and he feels that he and Chone Figgins need to produce for the offense to get going.
"He is a key player," Cabrera said of Figgins. "If he gets hits, then we're going to score some runs," Cabrera said.
Figgins has one hit in the series and Cabrera feels the Angels' table-setter should return to his aggressive style, but that also comes with experience.
"He's not swinging at the pitches that he normally swings at; he needs to swing at his pitches," said Cabrera, who struck out in his first at-bat in Game 3. "When you're in that situation and you haven't had that many years in the big leagues, you're going to press. You don't go out there and swing like you did during the year."
For Cabrera, though, the postseason couldn't be a better time of year.
"It takes 162 games to just get here," Cabrera said. "I'm not going to feel pressure. For what?"
Moving on: The Angels have read about it, talked about it, watched it repeatedly and lived it, but one thing they will not do is dwell on it. So with the first pitch Friday, the play is officially dead.
The play would be Josh Paul's non-catch in the ninth inning Wednesday that allowed A.J. Pierzynski to reach first and the White Sox to rally to victory. The Angels stand by Paul's assertion, though, that he caught the ball and will not instruct their catchers to tag every hitter.
For them, it wasn't the play, or lack thereof, it was the result.
"The fact that you look at the replay and say it was close; that is not the issue. It is that Doug [Eddings] called him out. It was a swing and it was recorded as an out," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But the bottom line is we didn't play well enough. If we had played better, we would have absorbed it. We have to play to a higher level."
Missing in action: Vladimir Guerrero entered Friday's game without a hit in the American League Championship Series against the White Sox and with the trend toward low-scoring games in the first two, the Angels could use his proven ability to not only drive in runs but make a difference in the middle of the lineup.
Speculation has begun to center on whether or not Guerrero, who grounded into an inning-ending double play in the first, is feeling well physically, but Scioscia said he's fine other than the normal wear of a baseball season. Others feel he's not being himself.
"He's trying to do too much," Cabrera said. "Vladdy is one of the smartest hitters. He looks for one pitch and when he gets it he is going to make you pay for it. But he's not doing that right now. He's being too aggressive; he's not looking for that one pitch."
Cabrera and Guerrero were teammates in Montreal where they both became friends with White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who was a coach there briefly. That period also provided Guillen with first-hand knowledge of their talent, so it came as no surprise to Cabrera when they pitched around both him and Guerrero in Game 2.
"Ozzie know us; he knows what we can do," Cabrera said. "He's not going to let Vladdy and me beat him."
Doubtful: Bartolo Colon has not resumed throwing, which increases the likelihood that the right-hander will not pitch again in the postseason.
An MRI taken Wednesday in Chicago revealed a strain at the back of the right-shoulder, an injury he suffered in Game 5 of the AL Division Series with the Yankees when he left in the second inning after throwing just three pitches.
There are no indicators yet pointing toward surgery, but Colon has not begun a throwing regimen that he will need if he is to pitch in the World Series if the Angels were to advance.
"He feels much better physically, but we have to get through this series," Scioscia said. "It will be another week (before that starts). We could fold him into the back end of the rotation, possibly a Game 4, but he has to pick up a ball here soon, so if that doesn't happen it is probably not going to be."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.