Late-week stint in minors likely for Vlad
Manager Mike Scioscia said Monday his slugger is on track to begin a short, minor league rehabilitation assignment Thursday or Friday and could be activated to return to Los Angeles' lineup as soon as Memorial Day.
It will be the first games of any kind since April 15 for the eight-time All-Star and key to the Angels' lineup. Guerrero was placed on the 15-day disabled list April 18 with a torn right pectoral muscle. He missed his 28th game Monday, when the Angels played the Mariners, but before the game he took batting practice for the fourth consecutive day, ran the bases and did some running and agility drills.
"He picked up his workouts today," Scioscia said.
Guerrero said he hasn't been told when he can throw again and, thus, return to the outfield.
Scioscia said Guerrero will be a designated hitter only for the few games he's likely to play through Sunday at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.
"There's no indication when he can start throwing," Scioscia said.
That was the issue that led to his DL stint. Guerrero wanted to return to right field last month but couldn't. That led to more tests to find out why, the discovery of a torn muscle in his chest and the decision to sideline him for a while.
Guerrero was batting .250 with one home run and three RBIs in 32 games before he went on the DL. The Angels entered Monday 15-13 without him. They had 27 home runs. Only Oakland, with 21, had fewer in the American League.
When asked if two or three rehab games in the minors will be enough to get the free-swinging Guerrero ready for a return to the Angels on May 25, Scioscia chuckled.
"Usually, in the spring, it takes him two or three pitches," Scioscia said. "Two or three games might be overkill."
Guerrero is likely to have company with him in Rancho Cucamonga. Scioscia said right-handed starter Kelvim Escobar, recovering from shoulder surgery that has sidelined him all season and caused him to miss all of 2008, will throw a 60-pitch bullpen session in Seattle on Tuesday or Wednesday. If that goes as well as his 45-pitch session a few days ago in Arizona, Escobar will begin a rehab assignment at Class A this weekend.
He's likely to make multiple starts there and at Triple-A Salt Lake before he returns to the Angels. Scioscia said the team remains hopeful Escobar can return in the first week of June.
Escobar was one of four Angels starting pitchers on the DL for the first six weeks of the season. One of those, ace John Lackey, started Monday -- two days after getting ejected two pitches into his season debut at Texas.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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