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2 Angels minor league players arrested in assault case

Michael Rocco and Matthew Oye tried to flee after an alleged assault outside a bar in Tempe, Ariz., police say.

June 12, 2009|Kevin Baxter

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. — Right-hander Kelvim Escobar is being sent to the bullpen and could be headed back to the disabled list after being scratched from his scheduled start tonight.

Escobar pitched last weekend in Detroit for the first time since 2007, holding the Tigers to two first-inning runs in a five-inning effort. But Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar's surgically repaired shoulder has not bounced back from the 92-pitch outing as expected.

"It progressively got worse to where he thought he didn't have enough stamina to go out there and throw the 90 pitches and recover. It's just sore," said Scioscia, who plans to keep Escobar in the bullpen for the rest of the season.

The Angels hope Escobar will be available to pitch sometime next week and "if he isn't, we can DL him," Scioscia said.

"It feels all right, but I don't think it's recovering the way it's supposed to," Escobar said. "I don't think my arm is ready right now to throw 90, 100 pitches."

Escobar, an 18-game winner in his last full season, has pitched in relief before, saving 38 games for Toronto in 2002. And with the Angels' bullpen struggling, he hopes to make a contribution there. "I'm sure I can help," he said. "I just want to pitch."

Matt Palmer will take his place in the rotation tonight.

Minor leaguers arrested

One Angels minor leaguer remained in jail Thursday while another was out on bond in connection with an alleged assault near the team's extended spring training facility in Tempe, Ariz.

Michael Rocco and Matthew Oye, both 23-year-old pitchers, were arrested after fleeing from police after a fight outside a bar early Tuesday morning. The Arizona Republic said witnesses saw two men kicking and hitting a man who was lying on the ground. Police said the incident began as an argument. The newspaper reported that Oye allegedly struck the victim several times with a metal pipe.

Angels spokesman Tim Mead said the team is cooperating with authorities and will wait until the police investigation is completed before deciding what, if any, action will be taken against the players.

Rocco is being charged with assault and criminal damage, and Oye is being charged with aggravated assault, police said.

Rocco, of Palm Desert, spent two years in the low minors with the Chicago White Sox, going 2-7. He was 1-9 in independent ball last season, including an appearance for Orange County of the Golden Baseball League. Oye, of Spokane, Wash., played at Washington State. Both were signed by the Angels last month.

Ali's son drafted

Baseball's draft ended Thursday with the Angels taking 20 players, including two with pretty good athletic backgrounds. In the 40th round, the Angels selected catcher/outfielder Asaad Ali of Niles High in Niles, Mich., the adopted son of former boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Five rounds later they took College of the Canyons infielder Phil Bando, the son of former major league catcher Chris Bando and the nephew of former Oakland A's great Sal Bando.

Over the three days of the draft the Angels took 54 players, including 22 pitchers, five catchers, 15 infielders and 12 outfielders. Teams have until Aug. 17 to come to contract terms with drafted players.

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kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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