Changing winds on the trade front

If the Angels intend to make a trade before the deadline next Monday, their target appears to have changed. Because of injuries and disappointing performances, the club now might be trying to find a first baseman.

The need now is at first base due to three recent developments. First, Shea Hillenbrand was traded to the Giants, and he had been someone the Angels sought.

Second, Kendry Morales slumped enough for the Angels to conclude the rookie isn't likely to be the answer as an every-day player this season in a pennant race, and Morales was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake Monday. He had hit .217 in his last 45 games.

Third, Dallas McPherson, viewed as a possibility to take charge of the position in a switch from third base, suffered a setback in his rehabilitation. McPherson, who was playing at Triple-A Salt Lake, was summoned to the Angels' Arizona training base Sunday when his back stiffened up.

Robb Quinlan, a right-handed batter, started against right-handed pitchers Sunday and Monday. In Monday's game, he drove in two runs with a seventh inning single. The Angels don't view Quinlan as their long-term solution, but he's come through often recently with timely hits.

"I'll take at-bats any way I can get them," Quinlan said.

Casey Kotchman (illness) and Darin Erstad (ankle problem) aren't likely to play much this season, and possibly not at all.

The names most associated with the Angels in recent trade rumors had been outfielder Alfonso Soriano and shortstop Miguel Tejada. The names being heard Monday were Ben Broussard, Sean Casey and Craig Wilson, all first basemen.

If the club isn't able to do something by the trade deadline, one other possibility might be San Diego Padres first baseman Ryan Klesko, a left-handed slugger who has spent the season on the disabled list. He is expected to begin a rehab assignment in the next week to 10 days and, with the emergence of rookie Adrian Gonzalez in his absence, no longer has a place in the Padres lineup.

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