Must C Catch: Iannetta saves Pujols with reflex grab

ANAHEIM -- Chris Iannetta is in the midst of a long slump at the plate, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia -- a former catcher -- believes offense is not the most important thing the team needs from its catcher.

"If you're going to trade off something, you're going to trade off the offensive side of what a catcher brings," Scioscia said. "Chris hasn't hit his stride yet, but we need a catcher back there that understands the whole staff and what they need to bring on a day-to-day basis. And that's where we put our energy on the catching side."

Iannetta is currently hitting .195 and only has one hit in his last 10 games. While Hank Conger has started some games -- mostly those in which C.J. Wilson started -- for the Angels as well, the catcher's spot has not produced much offensive firepower for the Angels.

Whether Iannetta or Conger is behind the plate, Angels catchers are hitting just .205 this season, the worst of any position.

Angels catchers have had a hard time throwing out basestealers, but have a .989 fielding percentage. Conger has three errors and Iannetta has yet to commit one in 292 total chances.

"I think first and foremost, when we are grading out our catchers and looking at what they bring to our team, we are going to look at the defensive numbers first," Scioscia said. "Chris has definitely improved since the start of the season and Hank is coming along."

Rehabbing Bourjos reports improvement in hamstring

LAA@SEA: Bourjos doubles to get into scoring position

ANAHEIM -- While the Angels went on a six-game road trip to Houston and Chicago, Peter Bourjos went to Arizona to get treatment on his strained left hamstring.

"It was good," Bourjos said of his stint in Arizona. "Just did some rehab there and started to feel a little better."

Bourjos, who was walking with a noticeable limp during the Angels brief four-game homestand against the Orioles, was walking fine prior to Monday's game.

"It was probably about Tuesday that I started to feel pretty good, where I was walking normal," Bourjos said. "Every day it's getting better."

Since he is no longer hobbling around the Angels clubhouse, Bourjos was able to play catch on Tuesday -- something he had not done since his injury.

Playing catch however, has been the only baseball related activity Bourjos has been able to do. Bourjos does not know when he will begin to either hit or run, but prior to Monday's game, he had not talked to the trainers about his plans for the week.

The center fielder strained his hamstring exactly two weeks ago and feels he is on schedule to return in another two to four weeks -- matching the initial four-to-six week timetable.

Bourjos is hitting .313 in 22 games this season.

Aybar out of lineup, but available off bench

LAA@HOU: Aybar exits game with hamstring tightness

ANAHEIM -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar has missed three straight games with a hamstring injury and is likely to miss his fourth as he is not in Monday's starting lineup, but is available off the bench.

While Aybar was hoping to start at shortstop Monday, his return to the starting lineup will have to wait at least another day.

Aybar did workout as planned prior to Monday's game and the workout was positive enough that Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the switch-hitting shortstop could be used -- an option that was not available the past few days.

"He felt great," Scioscia said of Aybar's pregame workout. "Had a great workout today. He'll be available today and most likely will play tomorrow."

Aybar has only played in 16 of the Angels 37 games this season as he was on the disabled list with a left heel issue earlier in the season.

Madson continues to inch toward return to big leagues

ANAHEIM -- While the Angels began a nine-game homestand with Monday night's 11-4 loss to the Royals, reliever Ryan Madson got in some work for Class A Inland Empire.

Madson, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery, could be activated from the disabled list either late this week or this weekend.

Madson pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning with one strikeout and recorded the save in his latest outing. It is likely Madson will pitch in another rehab game on Wednesday.

In his bullpen sessions, as well as during Saturday's simulated game in Arizona, Madson's fastball has been clocked in the 91-to-92-mph range. Prior to his Tommy John surgery, Madson said he was pitching around 94 to 95 mph with highs of 97.

While Madson believes the velocity will continue to climb -- and it has been throughout his rehab -- he feels he "can absolutely" get guys out at his current velocity.

With Ernesto Frieri pitching well in the closer's role, it is unclear what Madson's role will be upon his return, but the reliever is not worried about it and simply wants to get back on a Major League mound.

"I just want to pitch and feel good and get outs," Madson said. "Everything else has always taken care of itself."

Angels manager Mike Scioscia would prefer to ease Madson, who has not pitched in a Major League game since 2011, back into action, but acknowledges that is not always the way things work out.

"I think right away, in a perfect world, you want to put him into a situation where he can get some work in and pitch," Scioscia said. "If you're talking about long term, where his upside is this season, there's no doubt he's a back end bullpen guy. If that's going to happen in his first appearance back, that remains to be seen. You'd like to see him just get his feet on the ground and get an inning."

Worth noting

• Jered Weaver played catch prior to Monday's game and if he feels good on Tuesday, he is expected to throw his third bullpen session.

• Sean Burnett also played catch on Monday and Scioscia believes the left-hander will start throwing from a mound later this week.