MRI reveals bone bruise on Escobar's left knee

Angels third baseman is day to day, hopes to avoid DL

MRI reveals bone bruise on Escobar's left knee

ANAHEIM -- An MRI on Yunel Escobar's left knee revealed that the Angels third baseman has a bone bruise, manager Mike Scioscia said Sunday.

Escobar has not played since injuring the knee during his seventh-inning at-bat in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He wasn't in the lineup for the third straight game on Sunday, and is not available to pinch-hit against Oakland in the series finale.

Despite the concerns surrounding Escobar's knee, Scioscia said he doesn't expect Escobar to require time on the disabled list.

"If it gets out into the sixth, seventh, eighth day, or whatever it might be, you're going to start to see where the balance is," Scioscia said. "We're hoping he's going to make progress and be available."

Escobar, who has functioned as the team's primary leadoff hitter, has not spent time on the disabled list this season, but has missed time with two separate injuries to his left wrist in the last two months.

The 33-year-old, who has hit .310/.359/.409 with three homers and 20 RBIs this season, has become the club's most likely trade chip if they decide to be sellers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Aug. 1. Clubs such as the Mets and Giants have reportedly shown interest in Escobar.

In Escobar's absence, the role of leadoff hitter has switched off between second baseman Johnny Giavotella and right fielder Kole Calhoun, who typically hits second and led off the order in Sunday's game. Gregorio Petit and Jefry Marte have each seen time at third base in Escobar's absence.

Worth noting

• The Angels claimed reliever J.C. Ramirez from the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. Ramirez, 27, posted a 6.40 ERA and recorded a save in 27 appearances this season, and has a career ERA of 6.41 in three big league seasons with the Phillies, D-backs, Mariners and Reds. Ramirez is expected to join the Angels on Monday, at which time the team will make a corresponding move on the 25-man roster.

• Angels right-hander Garrett Richards and left-hander Andrew Heaney will each be evaluated Monday to check on the progress of stem-cell injections into the ulnar collateral ligament of their pitching elbows. This is the first imaging for Richards since undergoing to procedure on May 16. Heaney's latest ultrasound on June 13 indicated healing in his UCL, prompting a checkup two weeks later. Both pitchers are looking to avoid season-ending Tommy John surgery.

• Angels setup man Joe Smith will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Sunday, but will not have a pitch count. Scioscia said he isn't sure if Smith, who is dealing with a strained left hamstring, will need another rehab appearance before being activated from the DL.

Fabian Ardaya is a reporter for based in Anaheim. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.