Pennington lands on DL with hamstring strain

Pennington lands on DL with hamstring strain

SEATTLE -- The team bus rolled into the Angels' hotel in downtown Seattle around 4 a.m. PT on Friday, with five hours separating a sixth consecutive loss and two additional players tending to injuries. When the group reconvened at Safeco Field later that afternoon, their utility infielder was placed on the disabled list, their leadoff hitter was absent from the lineup, and a man with one extra-base hit was batting cleanup.

It's been that kind of week -- that kind of month -- for the Angels.

Cliff Pennington, basically the everyday shortstop while Andrelton Simmons recovers from a surgically repaired left thumb, became the seventh player on the current DL. Pennington has a strain in his left hamstring, one he hopes to fully recover from in a couple of weeks. Third baseman Yunel Escobar was nursing a jammed right thumb, which forced him to exit Thursday's game in the eighth inning, and was told to take a day to recover.

The Angels are hopeful that Escobar can return to the lineup by Saturday. In the meantime, Jefry Marte, a power-hitting corner infielder, was called up from Triple-A to fill Escobar's spot at third base. Middle infielder Gregorio Petit was also called up to back up Brendan Ryan, who will probably get most of the playing time at shortstop in the foreseeable future.

Ryan was acquired from the Nationals on Tuesday, the day before Jhoulys Chacin, Saturday's starting pitcher, came over from the Braves.

The Angels' injury list includes four starting pitchers (Garrett Richards, Andrew Heaney, C.J. Wilson and Tyler Skaggs), the closer (Huston Street), one platoon left fielder (Craig Gentry) and two shortstops (Simmons and Pennington).

"You just have to keep going," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We definitely don't feel sorry for ourselves. We're up here every day coming out with the right mindframe of winning a ballgame. The guys that are filling in are going to get an opportunity to bring what they can do into a game."

The Angels have carried a short bench for the last seven days, a product of the bullpen being taxed because starting pitchers have not been able to complete at least six innings in 12 of the last 13 games.

With Pennington and Escobar exiting Thursday's eventual 12-10 loss to the Cardinals early, catcher Geovany Soto was forced to play third base in the top of the ninth. If the Angels had tied the score in the bottom half, outfielder Shane Robinson would've played second base, and second baseman Johnny Giavotella would've moved to shortstop.

On Friday, Kole Calhoun led off, Mike Trout batted second, Albert Pujols hit third and Daniel Nava, who notched his first extra-base hit with Thursday's home run, was in the cleanup spot. Scioscia indicated that Trout would go back to his normal No. 3 spot once Escobar returns to the lineup.

Marte, 24, was acquired from the Tigers in late January and was batting .225/.321/.350 in the Pacific Coast League, though he was said to be hitting the ball better of late. Petit, who has appeared in 82 Major League games since 2008, was acquired on a Minor League contract and was batting .327/.377/.382.

Escobar played catch pregame and Scioscia said he'll "probably be in the lineup tomorrow." Pennington, Scioscia added, is "definitely sore. He had been sore for about a week. He felt it in yesterday's game, and he's at risk of doing some further damage to it by trying to play."

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and Facebook , and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.