Hunter sits after taking ball off cheek during batting practice

Updated: September 17, 2008, 9:29 PM ET
Associated Press

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Angels center fielder Torii Hunter was scratched from the AL West champions' lineup Wednesday night after getting hit in his right cheekbone by a ball while taking indoor batting practice.

Torii Hunter

Hunter

The injury wasn't considered serious, but Hunter did have some swelling in the area and was possibly going to have a precautionary X-ray to rule out a break. The ball didn't cut through his skin and he was being treated with ice.

Hunter hit a line drive that deflected off the protective "L" screen and came back at him. He turned his head to try to get out of the way but not in time.

Gary Matthews Jr. was set to start in center for Los Angeles against the Oakland Athletics.

While Hunter will remain with the team until he's cleared to play again, third baseman Chone Figgins was scheduled to return to Southern California on Thursday to be examined by team orthopedist Dr. Lewis Yocum. Figgins has been limited by stiffness and soreness in his right elbow since being hit by a pitch from the Yankees' Carl Pavano on Sept. 8. After his appointment with Yocum, Figgins will join the team in Texas on Friday.

Manager Mike Scioscia expects to have slugger Vladimir Guerrero and outfielder Juan Rivera back in the lineup Friday night in the series opener against the Rangers.

Guerrero had his injured right knee examined by Yocum on Tuesday, and an MRI showed inflammation. He left last Friday's game against the Seattle Mariners in the fifth inning with knee irritation and has been listed as day to day since.

"He feels much better," Scioscia said.

Rivera, who could return to action as soon as Thursday, also got hurt during the series with Seattle. He left Saturday's game in the eighth inning with a mild strain of his right hip flexor.

Getting everybody healthy before the Angels open the AL division series is key for this club.

"We can put bubble wrap on them but I don't know if they can play with it," Scioscia joked.

Shortstop Erick Aybar, meanwhile, was in the lineup and leading off for the second straight day after he returned Tuesday night from a hamstring injury. Aybar, who left in the ninth inning Aug. 27 with tightness in his left hamstring, still probably won't go all nine innings yet. Scioscia is treating his first few games as a rehab outing of sorts.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press