The Angels lost their most consistent starting pitcher for at least the first two weeks of the season Saturday when the team put Kelvim Escobar on the disabled list because of a sprain in his right elbow.
General Manager Bill Stoneman said Escobar complained of discomfort in the area in the days after his last spring start, Wednesday against the San Francisco Giants in Tempe, Ariz., and was subsequently examined by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' medical director.
"It's a couple of starts early in the season," said Stoneman, noting that Escobar was eligible to return April 15 because the move was retroactive to Thursday. "Hopefully, it won't be that impactful for us."
Reliever Kevin Gregg is expected to take Escobar's place in the rotation, with left-hander Jake Woods taking Escobar's spot on the opening-day roster.
Escobar, who finished 11-12 with a 3.93 earned-run average last season, suffered from a bone chip in his elbow that required surgery several years ago. His spring debut this season was delayed because of shoulder tightness.
As expected, the Angels' final two roster spots went to infielders Maicer Izturis and Lou Merloni, who will provide depth while second baseman Adam Kennedy and third baseman Dallas McPherson rehabilitate injuries.
Merloni said he had reached an agreement with the Angels that would allow him to become a free agent and pursue an opportunity with other major league teams if he were demoted to the minor leagues within the first 45 days of the season, though Stoneman disputed his account.
"If you're under contract to a team," Stoneman said, "you're not entitled to seek another opportunity."
Angel shortstop Orlando Cabrera said he did not consider the bone bruise in his right hand that forced him out of Friday's game after five innings to be serious and expected to be in the lineup on opening day. Cabrera refrained from taking batting practice, saying he had a tendency to aggravate the injury he originally suffered March 23 every time he hit the ball off the end of the bat.
Kennedy, recovering from off-season knee surgery, said he would remain with the Angels through April 10 before embarking on a rehabilitation assignment that could last "a good couple of weeks."