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Cozart back in lineup as Andrelton gets day off

Rivera progressing well after May knee surgery
MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Zack Cozart was back in the lineup for Sunday's finale vs. the Rangers after missing the previous four games with a left forearm strain.

"Zack's ready to go," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He swung the bat yesterday, took [batting practice], felt good, so he'll get in there and play short this afternoon."

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ANAHEIM -- Zack Cozart was back in the lineup for Sunday's finale vs. the Rangers after missing the previous four games with a left forearm strain.

"Zack's ready to go," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He swung the bat yesterday, took [batting practice], felt good, so he'll get in there and play short this afternoon."

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Cozart entered the week with a .232/.310/.395 line, five homers and a 96 wRC+ over 216 plate appearances thus far this season. On Sunday, he went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the Angels' 3-1 win.

Cozart got the start in place of Andrelton Simmons, who had ice on his left wrist after Saturday's game, in which he was hit by a pitch in the left knee and tweaked his wrist sliding into second base.

However, Scioscia said the minor dings were not a factor in Simmons getting the day off Sunday. Rather, it was part of a targeted initiative to give him some rest.

"He was banged up on the slide; he had to put his hand down," Scioscia said. "I know he got hit with that pitch right in the knee, but this is not really based on anything that's happened short-term. We've targeted this day for a while and were waiting for Coz to get back and get Simba off his feet."

Simmons played in 57 of the Angels' first 59 games. He is batting .336, the third-highest mark among qualified hitters in the American League.

Video: TEX@LAA: Simmons makes running over-the-shoulder grab

Rivera progressing

Rene Rivera has begun to throw as a part of his rehabilitation from a May 25 surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. He has not begun to swing the bat just yet. Though his expected timetable was to miss four to six weeks, Rivera is hopeful it will be a less arduous process.

"It all depends on how it heals, how the process is," Rivera said. "You hope it's less than that, but who knows. We've already had a week and a couple days, and it feels great. We've been working hard to get the strength back."

The procedure was done after some relatively routine soreness prompted Rivera to seek an MRI, which discovered the torn meniscus. Rivera actually played through the injury -- he's unclear for how long -- before the diagnosis. Regardless, Rivera said his doctor was impressed by the vitality of his knees.

"[Doctor] cleaned it up and was surprised how my knee looked. He said it looked like an 8-year-old kid's," Rivera said. "He was surprised that I played 18 years and that my knee looked so good."

Video: HOU@LAA: Rivera belts a solo homer to left-center

The procedure was the first time in Rivera's 18-year pro career that he had surgery or even been on the disabled list.

"Rene has been very durable, especially as a catcher. You know the wear and tear that a catcher takes," Scioscia said. "He just got nicked up a little, he'll be back."

In addition to a throwing regimen, Rivera has been doing balance exercises and riding a stationary bike in order to get the circulation in his right leg back to normal. He also has been stretching extensively to reduce the swelling and inflammation from the surgery.

Rivera will not be traveling with the team on its upcoming nine-game road trip to Minnesota, Seattle and Oakland in order to rehab with the Angels' trainers in Anaheim.

Avery Yang is a reporter for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, Zack Cozart