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Scot Shields rejoins Angels -- for fantasy football draft

Reliever, who is still recovering from knee surgery, drives to Kansas City from his home in Michigan to make his picks in team's annual rite.

September 05, 2009|Mike DiGiovanna

KANSAS CITY, MO. — The way Scot Shields bounced around the Angels' Kauffman Stadium clubhouse Friday, a spring in his step and no limp in sight, you half expected the veteran right-hander to suit up for the game and give the team two innings out of the bullpen.

Shields, who underwent season-ending surgery to repair the patella tendon in his left knee on June 16, is feeling good. But not that good.

"I can walk around, ride an exercise bike, I'm doing some light weight work and my physical therapy," Shields said. "But I feel it a little more when I try to push it. And I haven't started running yet."

The Angels used Thursday's off day in Kansas City to conduct their annual fantasy football league draft. In a totally related development, Shields traveled from his home in Michigan to join the club for the weekend.

Though doctors have told him he is ahead of schedule in his recovery, there is no need to rush it. He'll have a full eight months between surgery and the start of spring training next year; normal recovery time for his procedure is about six months.

Shields, who led all major league relievers with 425 innings over the previous five seasons, said there could be one benefit to being shut down in late May, after he went 1-3 with a 6.62 earned-run average in 20 games while trying to play with the injury.

"Hopefully, I'll come back stronger and well-rested," said Shields, 34. "With all the physical therapy I've been doing, I feel like I'll be in the best shape of my life next spring."

But Manager Mike Scioscia did not see much of a silver lining.

"When a guy takes a whole year off, I don't think there's any positive to it," he said. "Maybe there would be for a pitcher who sprains his ankle -- say he's been grinding it out -- and the injury gives his arm a chance to heal.

"But with Shields, the only bright spot is that this is something he's battled on and off for three years. Hopefully he can settle in and concentrate on his arm, getting back his delivery and throwing the ball the way he can."

New order

Following a pair of losses in Seattle in which the Angels managed one run and 10 hits in 18 innings, Scioscia shook up his lineup Friday night against the Royals.

Maicer Izturis, who dropped down in the order when Torii Hunter returned from a groin injury in mid-August, was returned to the second spot, and Bobby Abreu, who is hitting .214 since the beginning of August, was moved from second to third.

Vladimir Guerrero remained in the cleanup spot, but Hunter dropped from third to fifth, and Kendry Morales and Juan Rivera each moved down a spot, to sixth and seventh.

"It's a look we've used for a long time, and hopefully it gives us a little spark," Scioscia said. "We've been hit and miss for the last 12 or 13 games, where we're scoring big or nothing happens.

"Hopefully, this will give us more of a situational look at the top of the order, with Izzy hitting second."

Short hops

Following this series against the Royals, the Angels will play 17 of their final 26 games against teams with winning records -- Seattle (three), New York (four), Boston (three) and Texas (seven). . . . Scott Kazmir, who struck out eight Wednesday in Seattle, became the first pitcher in more than 10 years to strike out at least eight in his Angels debut. The last to do so was Jeff Juden on Aug. 11, 1998.


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