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Kinsler 'really close' to making Angels debut

Second baseman (groin tightness) could be in lineup as early as Friday
MLB.com @mi_guardado

OAKLAND -- Ian Kinsler's official Angels debut is on hold, as the veteran second baseman was out of the club's Opening Day lineup in a 6-5 walk-off loss to the A's on Thursday with groin tightness. But the malady isn't expected to keep him sidelined for long. Kinsler said he feels "great," and manager Mike Scioscia said he could return to action as early as Friday.

"I'm really close to playing," said Kinsler, who was acquired from the Tigers in December. "Opening Day is great and there's a lot of excitement around it. Of course I want to be in the lineup, but I don't want to lose 10 days or 15 days just because I'm trying to play on Opening Day. Just be smart, and I'll be ready soon."

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OAKLAND -- Ian Kinsler's official Angels debut is on hold, as the veteran second baseman was out of the club's Opening Day lineup in a 6-5 walk-off loss to the A's on Thursday with groin tightness. But the malady isn't expected to keep him sidelined for long. Kinsler said he feels "great," and manager Mike Scioscia said he could return to action as early as Friday.

"I'm really close to playing," said Kinsler, who was acquired from the Tigers in December. "Opening Day is great and there's a lot of excitement around it. Of course I want to be in the lineup, but I don't want to lose 10 days or 15 days just because I'm trying to play on Opening Day. Just be smart, and I'll be ready soon."

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Kinsler said he tweaked his groin while trying to get back to second base during the Angels' Cactus League game against the Dodgers on Monday night.

"It was a back pick from the catcher, when the catcher threw behind me at second base," Kinsler said. "I was just trying to get back, and I kind of lunged into the base. It didn't grab me or pull or anything like that. It just tightened up."

Zack Cozart hit a homer and started at second base in Kinsler's place, with Luis Valbuena getting the nod at third.

Heaney progressing
Andrew Heaney, who was officially placed on the 10-day disabled list on Thursday with left elbow inflammation, is scheduled to throw a bullpen on Friday.

"He felt really good coming out of his last bullpen," Scioscia said. "We're going to take it one step at a time and see how he feels after tomorrow's 'pen and after. Maybe get a little more clarity."

Scioscia said Heaney will have to pitch in at least one Minor League game before he's ready to join the Angels. Heaney is expected to be part of the Angels' six-man rotation this season, but the club can use an early off-day to delay using a sixth starter until April 12. If Heaney is not fully healed by then, the Angels could call up Nick Tropeano or Parker Bridwell from Triple-A Salt Lake to fill his spot in the rotation.

Video: CLE@LAA: Heaney strikes out Zimmer in the 1st

A 'dream come true' for Bard
Rule 5 pick Luke Bard enjoyed his first Opening Day in the Majors after nabbing one of the Angels' final bullpen spots on Tuesday. Bard said his wife and his parents booked a last-minute flight to the Bay Area from North Carolina to be on hand for his potential debut.

"It's really a dream come true," Bard said. "You grow up as a kid dreaming of this moment, and it's happening. You kind of have to pinch yourself for a second. It's cool."

The Angels expect to use Bard in a multi-inning role out of the bullpen, helping to fill the void left by Yusmeiro Petit, who departed via free agency over the offseason for the A's.

Video: LAA@TEX: Bard strikes out Marte swinging in the 8th

Diaz's arrival still delayed
The Angels placed right-handed reliever Dayan Diaz on the restricted list on Thursday after he failed to report to camp due to a visa issue. General manager Billy Eppler said the Angels have no definitive timetable for when the Colombian-born Diaz might join the organization. The Angels claimed Diaz, 29, off waivers from the Astros in September.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Los Angeles Angels