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Napoli breathes a sigh of relief

July 09, 2008|Kevin Baxter | Times Staff Writer

ARLINGTON, Texas -- A relieved Mike Napoli rejoined the Angels on Tuesday, a day after an MRI exam revealed nothing more than irritation in his aching right shoulder.

"I've been stressed about my arm and how it's been feeling. Now I know what's going on in there and it's not going to be a long time before I get back," he said. "I thought there could be something wrong in there. It was really inflamed."

Napoli, who had season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder five years ago, said his shoulder has bothered him all season, but the pain eventually got so bad he had to go on the disabled list.

"I couldn't really take it any more," said Napoli, who is hitting .204 with 12 home runs, second on the team. "We thought it was a good idea to get an MRI, and let it calm down and get some [medicine] in there. And let it get better."

There is no timetable for Napoli's return, but he hopes to be back shortly after the All-Star break.

Escobar decision on hold

Angels General Manager Tony Reagins and Peter Greenberg, the agent for pitcher Kelvim Escobar, spoke by phone and agreed to put off a decision on season-ending surgery for Escobar until at least Thursday, when the two doctors who examined the right-hander's injured shoulder are expected to meet in Florida.

Angels physician Lewis Yocum and New York Mets orthopedist David Altchek have checked Escobar's torn labrum, which has kept him on the disabled list since mid-March. The doctors have spoken on the phone and are scheduled to attend the same conference this week, where they will discuss Escobar's situation.

"Once that occurs, a decision will be made if we move forward on surgery and the timing of the surgery," Reagins said. "I wouldn't say surgery is the option, but it is an option."

380 and counting

Vladimir Guerrero's home run Monday in the series opener against Texas was his 380th, moving him past Hall of Fame members Orlando Cepeda and Tony Perez into 57th place on the all-time list. And at age 32, it leaves him within striking distance of 500 homers, a total only three other Latin-born players have reached.

"If God keeps me healthy, we'll see what comes," Guerrero said in Spanish. "You can't know what's going to happen in life. I didn't even know I had 380."

But Guerrero, who singled Tuesday to give him hits in 23 of his last 26 games, won't be hitting any long balls in New York on Monday after deciding not to defend his title in the Home Run Derby preceding the All-Star game Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.

"Look, the flight is five hours. I'll get there at 6 in the morning the same day I have to bat," he said. "I'd return to Los Angeles the next morning. I think it would be better to take my days off and get ready for the second half of the season."

Another factor is that Guerrero has six nieces and nephews, two sons and both his parents visiting him at his Orange County home.

No white flag yet

Oakland's decision to send ace right-hander Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs as part of a six-player deal was no cause for celebration in the Angels clubhouse, Reagins said.

"They're really a competitive team. I don't see them waving the white flag at all," Reagins said of the Athletics, who started Tuesday in second place in the American League West, six games behind the Angels. "We still have to go out there and play and take care of our business."

Oakland also parted with right-hander Chad Gaudin in exchange for highly regarded right-hander Sean Gallagher, outfielders Matt Murton and Eric Patterson, and minor league catcher Josh Donaldson.


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