Aybar's knee damaged; clean play?

Updated: June 16, 2010, 2:46 AM ET
By Mark Saxon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

ANAHEIM -- An MRI exam revealed damage Tuesday to Los Angeles Angels shortstop Erick Aybar's meniscus in his left knee. The team said Aybar will be re-evaluated Friday.

Aybar hyperextended his knee on a force play at second base against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday. Aybar was in an awkward position, leaping for an errant throw from first baseman Kevin Frandsen, when Brewers third baseman Casey McGehee -- trying to break up a double play -- slid hard through the bag in the seventh inning. McGehee's momentum carried him into Aybar's leg, which buckled.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia did not seem optimistic that Aybar could return quickly, which would likely mean a trip to the disabled list.

"If you play another position, maybe catcher or first base, and you tweak your knee, there's still a chance you can go out there and still function," said. "It's tough to do if you don't have your range and your agility to play a position like shortstop or center field, so it's going to take a little time to see where it sets up."

Scioscia also speculated that surgery was a possibility.

Though Scioscia and center fielder Torii Hunter called the hard slide by McGehee a "clean play," that opinion wasn't unanimous inside the Angels clubhouse.

More than one Angels player considered the timing of McGehee's play suspicious. The Brewers were leading 9-2 in the seventh inning and McGehee had just been hit by a pitch.

"With where the score was, I don't think there's any reason to break up a double play like that," Bobby Abreu said. "Then, he saw the guy lying down and he didn't say, 'Are you OK?' or anything like that. He just walked away.

"He's young, but he's got to learn you don't have to do that. You want to show everybody you're a tough guy, but you have to be smart."

Scioscia reiterated his stance that McGehee's slide was clean and said, "I think you play the game at the same pace," regardless of the score.

Reliever Scot Shields said he didn't have a problem with it, because McGehee didn't go outside the base path to make contact. Aybar was in an awkward position after first baseman Kevin Frandsen's throw sailed toward the third-base side, causing him to leap before landing on the base.

Other Angels felt the slide was a bit too aggressive for the circumstances. Rookie Angels reliever Trevor Bell had hit McGehee with a tailing fastball a few minutes earlier.

"Sometimes, when you get hit by a pitch, you try to hit somebody at second base. I think that's what he tried to do," Juan Rivera said. "Everybody gets mad, but it's not good what he did. You play hard, but not like this. A guy broke his leg or something."

Abreu said he thought McGehee was angry because he had been hit a few innings after hitting a home run. Hunter actually caught McGehee's fly ball before colliding with the ball and dropping it over the other side.

"Why are we going to try to hit him? For what reason? Because he hit a homer?" Abreu said. "He didn't really hit a homer."

In all, four players were hit by pitches Monday, two on each team. Brewers manager Ken Macha said he thinks players are getting too sensitive about plays like McGehee's.

"I'm from a different generation," Macha said. "I'm sure if Bobby Grich was sliding into second base way back when, he would have gone in hard like that, too."

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.

Mark Saxon

ESPNLosAngeles.com
Mark Saxon is a staff writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. He spent six years at the Orange County Register, and began his career at the Oakland Tribune, where he started an 11-year journey covering Major League Baseball. He has also covered colleges, including USC football and UCLA basketball.

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