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The void at catcher

6/3/2012

It's not often a team is dying to get a .197 hitter back in the fold, but the absence of catcher Chris Iannetta has left a major hole in the bottom of the Angels' lineup.

Since Iannetta went on the disabled May 9, the Angels are still waiting for an RBI -- one RBI! -- from a catcher. Bobby Wilson is an above-average defender and John Hester has done fine since being recalled, but they have collectively batted .186 in Iannetta's absence. Wilson was 0-for-4 with three strikeouts Saturday night.

The lack of production from the catcher's spot in the order is part of the reason virtually all of the Angels' offense lately has been generated in the top half of the order, often around Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo.

Iannetta is progressing in his rehab from a broken wrist, having been cleared to long toss and to do plate-blocking drills. Manager Mike Scioscia said he would be surprised if Iannetta doesn't return within the next two weeks.

"Even though his average wasn't that high, he was getting on base and there was definitely a threat in the bottom of the lineup," Scioscia said. "So, any time you can get a guy who has that kind of power and ability to get on base back in your lineup it makes you deeper and we'll welcome that back."

* Also, on Sunday Mike Trout was named the American League rookie of the month for May, when he batted .324 with six doubles, three triples and five home runs.

Here are lineups for Sunday's series finale, the Angels going for a three-game sweep behind Dan Haren:

Texas

Ian Kinsler 2B

Elvis Andrus SS

Josh Hamilton CF

Adrian Beltre 3B

Michael Young DH

Nelson Cruz RF

David Murphy LF

Mike Napoli C

Mitch Moreland 1B

Angels

Mike Trout LF

Alberto Callaspo 3B

Albert Pujols 1B

Mark Trumbo RF

Torii Hunter DH

Howie Kendrick 2B

Erick Aybar SS

Peter Bourjos CF

John Hester C