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ANGELS SPRING REPORT

Joel Pineiro feels 'a lot better' after treatment on right shoulder

The pitcher, pulled after two innings in spring game because of 'huge knot' that formed, receives extensive treatment and scores well enough on strength tests that X-rays aren't ordered.

March 21, 2011|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro works against the San Diego Padres during an exhibition game last week at Peoria Stadium.
Angels starting pitcher Joel Pineiro works against the San Diego Padres… (Christian Petersen / Getty…)

Reporting from Tempe, Ariz.

The "huge knot" that formed in Joel Pineiro's right shoulder blade during a minor league start Sunday is not expected to prevent the right-hander from opening the regular season with the Angels.

"He's feeling much better," Manager Mike Scioscia said of Pineiro, who was pulled after throwing two innings and 35 pitches. "We feel better about it today than we did [Sunday] night."

Pineiro said he felt "a lot better" after undergoing extensive treatment Monday morning. He scored well enough on strength tests that the Angels have not ordered X-rays or an MRI test.

Pineiro, who went 10-7 with a 3.84 earned-run average last season, said the injury was not related to the left rib-cage strain that sidelined him for seven weeks last August and September.

"It felt like a cramp," Pineiro said. "I got tight in that second inning. I went to warm up and said, 'Whoa, it felt like I'd thrown 60 pitches.' I could have kept going, but [pitching coach Mike Butcher] said there was no need to push it."

Pineiro will take two days off before playing catch Wednesday. His next exhibition start will be pushed back, but he threw 73 pitches in his previous start and should be able to increase his pitch count enough in his next game to be ready to start the season.

The Angels also have an off day after a season-opening, four-game series in Kansas City and could use it to skip the fifth spot the first time through the rotation, pushing Pineiro's first start back to about April 11.

Change of plans

With rain and heavy winds threatening the Angels' afternoon game against the Chicago Cubs, Scioscia moved ace Jered Weaver to a morning minor league game against Arizona's Class-A team.

The right-hander breezed through 7 1/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits, including a wind-aided two-run home run, striking out 11 and walking none. He threw 87 pitches.

Jeff Mathis caught Weaver and had three hits, two of them homers.

"The wind was blowing," Mathis said. "I fisted one of them out."

Weaver faced one extra batter after the sixth inning to increase his pitch count.

"Everything felt good," Weaver said. "Those guys like to swing it down there. I was trying to throw first-pitch strikes, and then I started mixing in some off-speed stuff later.

"It's a totally different game down there. You can't set guys up, so I just tried to work on location, let them hit the ball, and hopefully they hit it at someone. It was a step in the right direction."

Weaver will probably peel back to 70 to 75 pitches in his last spring game Saturday. He's in line to start the March 31 season opener in Kansas City, Mo., but as is the case every spring, Scioscia will be among the last in baseball to announce his opening-day starter.

"I'm not very good at math," Weaver said. "And you know how [Scioscia] likes to do it."

Short hops

Instead of pitching Tuesday night against Kansas City, right-hander Dan Haren will start a triple-A game against the Cubs in Tempe Diablo Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. … Catcher Bobby Wilson returned to camp after missing Sunday's workout and game because of flu-like symptoms, but he was too weak to play. He is scheduled to catch Haren on Tuesday.… Infielder Freddy Sandoval was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake.

mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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