After laying down a successful bunt on a squeeze play in the fifth inning to score Johnny Giavotella, Aybar grabbed his left hamstring as he was thrown out at first base. It wasn’t a good sight for the Angels.
"He’s OK. He wanted to stay in the game but we needed to get him evaluated," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We’ll see how it sets up (Friday). He felt a little better after the game. Like I said, we’re going to take our time with this one."
Asked if he would be headed for a stint on the disabled list, Scioscia said: "No, that’s not our expectation, but we will definitely make sure he’s 100 percent before he gets back in our lineup."
The durable shortstop has been a staple in the Angels lineup for 10 seasons. He and Scioscia are the longest-tenured position player and manager with the same organization in Major League Baseball.
Aybar has been batting leadoff for the Angels and has had the hot bat over the last 30 days, batting .317 with 38 hits, 11 RBI, 19 runs, four walks and three stolen bases.
But given all that he does defensively and on the basepaths for the Angels, his hamstring must be right. And then there’s the concern of making the injury worse or playing on it and having it become a lingering problem.
"We have to evaluate to see where he is (Friday)," Scioscia said. "I can’t stress how important he is to our club, so we have to err on the side of caution with him."
Aybar has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games, and has been one of the few Angels who has been in an offensive rhythm, although the Angels appear to be getting back on track.
Aybar was not available for interviews after the game when reporters arrived following Scioscia’s postgame news conference.
No matter how little or much time he misses, his absence in the lineup will be felt.
"This guy is as important as anybody you want to talk about on our team," Scoscia said. "He’s right up there with Mike (Trout), Albert (Pujols) and Jered (Weaver) and Garrett (Richards) and all the guys you want to talk about."
Said C.J. Wilson: "Aybar is huge for us. He’s an All-Star. He’s a gold-glover. He’s a stalwart in our lineup. Erick is one of those guys like me, he’s able to play a little banged up here and there. If you have something that’s not totally on your best game, it might prevent him from stealing bases I don’t think it will prevent him from playing too much. He’s very resilient in that sense. He can play a little less than optimal and still be a great player. I’m not too worried about it."
Scioscia, on the other hand, said Aybar won’t be back in the lineup until he’s 100 percent.