TORONTO -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia returned to the club Sunday after a two-game absence, which saw bench coach Dino Ebel fill in as the team's skipper.
Scioscia left the team for the first two contests of Los Angeles' four-game set at Rogers Centre to attend his daughter Taylor's college graduation. Taylor graduated from Loyola Marymount University -- where she played volleyball -- with a sociology degree.
"It's like you are playing hooky; you don't feel good about it," Scioscia said about being away from the club. "When your youngest daughter graduates college, you have to be there. It was awesome.
"But I'm happy to be back, for sure."
Astronaut Jim Lovell, the 86-year-old commander of the Apollo 13 mission, spoke at the graduation and received an honorary doctorate degree.
"He looks like he's 40," Scioscia said. "He gave perspective on his life experiences. It was really an inspiring speech. He's very well educated."
While Scioscia was away, he and Ebel talked strategy and lineup construction before and after games. Scioscia said the club was in good hands with Ebel steering the ship, and he didn't miss a beat.
It's only a matter of time, Scioscia said, until Ebel is running his own team.
"He's going to manage one day. He has a great baseball mind," Scioscia said.
The Angels won both games Ebel managed, beating Toronto, 4-3, on Friday and 5-3 in Saturday's contest.
Stewart exits game after HBP, X-rays negative
TORONTO -- The Angels are hoping they won't lose Ian Stewart to the disabled list, but they understand it's a possibility.
Stewart was forced to leave Sunday's 9-3 win over the Blue Jays in the seventh inning after taking a pitch off his left hand. The third baseman, who was hit on the knuckles of his ring and pinky fingers, underwent X-rays at Rogers Centre which came back negative, but he was in some pain and will need to have a follow-up examination.
"Too soon," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said when asked if Stewart would require a DL stint. "But we are certainly going to look at some stuff. It hit him pretty flush."
Stewart attempted to check his swing on a first-pitch offering from Toronto reliever Aaron Loup, but he went around on the 91-mph fastball and dropped to the ground in obvious pain after getting hit.
The 29-year-old was down for a brief moment before exiting. John McDonald entered the game as his replacement and flied out to right field for the third out.
"It's just sore," Stewart said. "Trying to make a fist, it's sore. Good news, though, from the X-ray and hopefully it's just a day-to-day thing."
Stewart struck out in his first two at-bats before snapping an 0-for-24 skid with a sixth-inning triple, and he later came around to score on a single from Collin Cowgill.
Losing Stewart would challenge the Angels' depth, as the club is already without starting third baseman David Freese.
Freese, who sustained a non-displaced fracture in his right middle finger after getting hit by a pitch, is eligible to come off the DL on May 18, and the Angels believe there's a possibility that could happen. Freese is currently at the Angels' Spring Training complex in Arizona participating in baseball-related activities.
Angels honor breast cancer awareness with pink bats
TORONTO -- Many Angels used pink bats for Sunday's game against the Blue Jays in honor of breast cancer awareness and Mother's Day.
They included third baseman Ian Stewart and second baseman Howie Kendrick. C.J. Cron also said he will use one, but he was not in the starting lineup.
Players from both the Angels and Blue Jays wore arm sleeves while taking batting practice before the afternoon contest. Additionally, each base and baseball used during Sunday's game at Rogers Centre had a breast cancer awareness logo on it.
The pink bat tradition began in 2006 in association with Susan G. Komen, which is one of the largest breast cancer organizations in the United States.
Across Major League Baseball, honorary bat girls were present for the Sunday games, and were comprised of fans who were affected by breast cancer and are demonstrating a commitment to eradicate the disease.
The Honorary Bat Girl winners were selected by fan votes on HonoraryBatGirl.com along with feedback from a guest judging panel that included Evan Longoria of the Rays, Freddie Freeman of the Braves, Pablo Sandoval of the Giants, country music superstar and Braves fan Jason Aldean, and Sam Ryan, an MLB Network host and reporter.
Introduced in 2009, the Honorary Bat Girl program raises additional awareness and support for the annual "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative celebrated on Mother's Day.
Los Angeles, which travels to Philadelphia after the club's four-game set in Toronto concludes, will honor Danielle Adams in a special on-field ceremony when the team returns home on May 15 in a game against the Rays.
Adams was diagnosed with Stage II triple negative breast cancer in March 2013. Over the past year, she has gone through four rounds of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy, followed by four additional rounds of chemotherapy. She finished treatment on October 21 and had reconstructive surgery on December 12.
Relievers Burnett, De La Rosa make rehab progress
TORONTO -- Left-hander Sean Burnett, who is recovering from left elbow surgery, began a rehab assignment with Double-A Arkansas on Saturday. He lasted two-thirds of an inning and allowed three runs on four hits.
The better news is that he came out of the outing feeling strong.
"Velocity looked good. The line score wasn't, but he felt good," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Burnett hasn't thrown a pitch in the Majors since May 26 of last season and is still potentially upwards of one month away from rejoining the team. The Halos currently have just one lefty in their bullpen in Hector Santiago, so getting Burnett back is something the club is looking forward to.
"He's important to us," Scioscia said.
Another ailing reliever Los Angeles is hoping to bring back soon is right-hander Dane De La Rosa, who made his fourth rehab appearance with Triple-A Salt Lake on Saturday. De La Rosa threw 1 1/3 innings, allowed two runs, walked two and struck out a pair.
Though the Angels were hopeful earlier in the week that De La Rosa had a chance to rejoin the team during the club's trip to Toronto, that won't be the case. But the 31-year-old, who has been limited to just one appearance this season due to right Sternoclavicular (S/C) joint irritation, could be ready sometime next week.
"He continues to make progress." Scioscia said. "Dane will be here sooner rather than later, but exactly what day that will be, we are still working out some things. He's definitely close."
• Ernesto Frieri and Joe Smith will continue to share closer duties for the time being depending on the matchup, Scioscia said, confirming what Ebel told reporters at the beginning of the Toronto series.
"If we have some matchups in the eighth, we are going to look at it one way, and if we have some matchups in the ninth, we can look at it a different way," Scioscia said. "I don't think anything has changed from what we talked about a week ago."
Ideally, Scioscia said, Frieri would be the ninth-inning man. But he also explained that the club needs to return some key relievers from injuries to provide the club with further depth before that happens.
Chris Toman is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.