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Angels recall Alexi Amarista, option Reggie Willits

UPDATE: Alexi Amarista is currently taking early batting practice at Angel Stadium. He will replace outfielder Reggie Willits, who was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake.

The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional was the first to report that the Angels have recalled infielder Amarista from Triple-A Salt Lake. The news was leaked by Amarista's winter ball team, according to the newspaper. [Note: link in Spanish]

The news initially led to speculation that Maicer Izturis could be headed to the disabled list for the 10th time in the last six years. He was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup with tightness in his left hamstring. The Angels likely needed Amarista as infield coverage while Izturis is hurt.

The Angels are struggling for offense and Izturis has been the team's leading hitter, batting .338, 10th in the American League. He also is easily the best choice as leadoff man, with a .340 lifetime on-base percentage.

Amarista is batting .455 with 10 runs scored for Salt Lake and has emerged as one of the Angels' top prospects despite his diminutive stature. Listed generously at 5-foot-8, he likely will be the shortest player in the major leagues.