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Vladimir Guerrero to begin rehab assignment Friday for Rancho Cucamonga

The slugger has been out since April 16 because of a torn chest muscle. Pitcher Kelvim Escobar also is expected to begin a rehab stint with the Class-A team this weekend.

May 19, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

SEATTLE — Ticket sales at Class-A Lake Elsinore could receive a nice boost this weekend.

Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero, out since April 16 because of a torn right pectoral muscle, is expected to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment Friday for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, which begins a four-game series at Lake Elsinore that night.

Guerrero, who will probably be activated next Monday, will probably have a big league carpool buddy on Friday.

Kelvim Escobar, who joined the Angels in Seattle on Monday after a brief stint at the team's extended spring training camp in Arizona, will resume his rehab assignment for Rancho Cucamonga on Friday.

Guerrero began taking batting practice Friday in Texas and ran the bases aggressively Monday. He launched several balls well over the left-field fence Monday.

"I feel fine -- my swing is OK," Guerrero said. "It doesn't hurt at all. It feels good."

Guerrero is still a month away from even attempting to throw, so he will be relegated to designated hitter, a spot he has been reluctant to embrace.

"I can't play outfield," Guerrero said. "I've got to play, so I can only DH."

With the Angels playing this weekend in Dodger Stadium, where there will be no DH, they are targeting next Monday night's game against the Chicago White Sox in Anaheim for Guerrero's return.

Manager Mike Scioscia said he doesn't think it will take more than two or three games at Rancho for Guerrero to be ready.

"Usually in spring training it takes two or three pitches for him to get the rust off, so three games might be overkill," Scioscia said.

"But we'll find out. We have to see how he does busting out of the box, running the bases. There's a lot he has to acclimate to."


On the road to recovery

The Angels brought Escobar to Seattle so they could evaluate his between-starts bullpen workout before sending him to Rancho.

Escobar, who in early April suffered a setback in his recovery from shoulder surgery, threw a three-inning, 45-pitch simulated game in Arizona on Sunday and hopes to extend to 60 pitches in his first Class-A start.

"I feel good -- I keep moving forward," said Escobar, who is eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 3. "But I think it will be better for me to get into a game situation."

The Angels plan to extend the right-hander to the 95-pitch range in preparation for a return to the rotation, but they have not ruled out using him in relief.

"I'll do whatever they want me to do," Escobar said. "It makes sense to [prepare as a starter] because it's easier to adjust to being a reliever. If I can throw 100 pitches, it's easy to throw 20 pitches. I would just have to get used to throwing every day."


Seanez on board

Veteran reliever Rudy Seanez passed a physical Monday and signed a minor league contract with the Angels, according to Abe Flores, director of player development.

The Angels will send the 40-year-old to extended spring training for at least a week or two before moving him to triple-A Salt Lake.

Seanez last pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, going 5-4 with a 3.53 earned-run average in 42 games. He went 6-3 with a 3.79 ERA in 74 games for the Dodgers in 2007.

The Angels, whose bullpen entered Monday's game with a major league-worst 6.35 ERA and a league-high 10 losses, invited Seanez to work out for them in Angel Stadium recently, and Scioscia said his arm "looks great. The ball came out of his hand really well."





Where: Safeco Field.

When: 7.

On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980.

Pitchers: Matt Palmer vs. Felix Hernandez.

Update: Only two pitchers in franchise history have won more games to start their Angels careers than Palmer -- Jered Weaver, who won his first seven decisions in 2006, and Bo Belinsky, who won his first five decisions in 1962. Palmer (4-0), in his seventh big league start, threw a complete game, allowing four runs and five hits, in Wednesday night's 8-4 win over Boston. Hernandez threw seven scoreless innings for a no-decision in his last start, against Texas, and he had a 22-inning scoreless streak from April 17 to May 4. He is 3-4 with a 4.83 earned-run average in 12 career starts against the Angels.

-- Mike DiGiovanna

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