Featherston may sit if Giavotella can return

Featherston may sit if Giavotella can return

SEATTLE -- Taylor Featherston stared into the webbing of his Wilson A2000 from Safeco Field's visiting clubhouse Monday, still wondering how a baseball lodged itself into a hole that is less than an inch wide. He grabbed another ball and tried his best to force it through, but couldn't even come close.

"I still can't believe it," Featherston said less than 24 hours after Carlos Correa's 111-mph one-hopper got stuck in his "I" web in Sunday's ninth inning, setting the stage for the Angels' demoralizing 5-3 loss to the first-place Astros. "I just have no idea how that can happen."

Freakish play aside, Featherston has given the Angels plus defense at second base since taking over on an everyday basis at the start of September.

But it doesn't sound like he'll remain a starter when -- if -- Johnny Giavotella returns from fourth nerve palsy.

"Taylor has played well, but with the way Johnny gave us a spark on the offensive side, you definitely want to see if that would play," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "But we're going to see where we are, how Johnny is. If it means easing him back in, great. If it means he gets a chance to play, so be it. If it means Taylor is doing a good job and should continue to play, those are the options we're dealing with."

It's a matter of whether Scioscia wants defense or offense. Featherston has a weighted runs created plus of 23, second-lowest among players with at least 120 plate appearances. Giavotella has an Ultimate Zone Rating of minus-8.9, lowest among Major League second basemen.

Before that decision even has to be made, Giavotella has to get right.

The 28-year-old saw a specialist in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday morning and joined the team in Seattle in the afternoon. Giavotella was told it could be "a couple of days or a week or two" before he can look to his left without seeing double. He's doing everything but taking batting practice, and he hopes to do that at some point in the next couple of days.

Giavotella believes he'd only need to see live pitching in one simulated game before returning to the lineup.

"I think I'd feel comfortable going in and playing live games fairly quickly," he said. "I don't think I would need that many at-bats to get game ready."

Worth noting

Hector Santiago was given a $7,500 grant for being the Angels' representative for the Roberto Clemente Award and will use that money to benefit the North Ward Center, a community development organization in his hometown of Newark, N.J.

Matt Shoemaker (right forearm strain) will throw a two-inning simulated game in Seattle on Tuesday. Nick Tropeano is starting in Shoemaker's place that day, but Shoemaker could be lined up to start Sunday's series finale in Minnesota.

Albert Pujols got a couple of pain-relieving injections in his right foot before Monday's game and said he was feeling better, but not by much. Pujols has started nine straight games at designated hitter and expects to continue to do so.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.