Nine players in uniform for the Angels on Sunday weren't with the team opening day. Five of them weren't even with the team when it began its last trip.
"It doesn't seem like it's a different team," said right-handed pitcher Jered Weaver, the longest-tenured Angel after seven years with the club. "It is a different team."
"You never like to see anyone go," Weaver said. "That's what makes this business so tough. You never know who's going to be here one day and is not going to be here the next day."
Add to that an active roster that no longer includes first baseman Albert Pujols, outfielder Peter Bourjos and left-hander Jason Vargas, all of whom are on the disabled list, and Manager Mike Scioscia found himself writing out a lineup Sunday that included three players — outfielder Kole Calhoun and infielders Chris Nelson and Tommy Field — who were in the minor leagues 18 days ago. And three of the six relievers he used joined the team in the last 11 days.
"It is what it is," he said. "You can't predict exactly what the names will be. But you can predict that there's going to be little surprises along the way, little things you have to adjust with."
On the mend
Vargas came out of Saturday's three-inning simulated game without any complications and Scioscia said he expects Vargas to make a minor league rehabilitation start Thursday, when he'll aim for five innings or 75 pitches. Vargas, who had surgery June 26 to remove a blood clot from under his left arm, hasn't pitched for the Angels in eight weeks.
Bourjos is also moving closer to returning after sitting out 29 games because of a fractured right wrist. Bourjos, who played long toss Sunday, has been taking live batting practice since the team came back from its trip. He hopes to begin a rehab assignment with triple-A Salt Lake by next weekend.
With the Angels nearing the end of a streak that will include playing 20 games in as many days, Scioscia used second baseman Howie Kendrick as the designated hitter and held right fielder Josh Hamilton out of the starting lineup.
"If we get a chance to get them a day just to either DH … or a day off we have to take advantage of it," Scioscia said.
Kendrick, who singled in the fourth inning to extend his hitting streak to a season-long nine games, hadn't started as the designated hitter in nearly four years. Hamilton came on as a pinch-hitter in the ninth and made the game's final out.