Injuries take bite out of AL West rivals

The closest pursuers to the first-place Rangers in the AL West received bad pitching news Wednesday.

Oakland A's starter Ben Sheets, who went on the 15-day disabled list Saturday, is out for the year with a torn flexor in his right elbow. Los Angeles Angels starter Joel Pineiro strained a muscle in his left side warming up before Wednesday's game and is out 6-8 weeks.

Sheets was signed to a one-year, $10 million contract by the A's in the offseason. For that investment, they got a 4-9 record with a 4.53 ERA in 20 starts. Sheets' injury was confirmed by Rangers team physician Dr. Keith Meister.

Pineiro, the Angels' leader in victories, is 10-7 with a 4.18 ERA.

The Angels had a bit of good news, however. Dan Haren, who was acquired from Arizona then left his Angels debut after being hit by a line drive, pitched a bullpen session Wednesday and pronounced himself fit for Saturday's scheduled start against the Rangers.

Pending the result of Wednesday night's Rangers-A's game, Texas had an 8 1/2-game lead on Oakland and a nine-game lead over the Angels, who lost to Boston in an afternoon game.