Dan Haren could rejoin the starting rotation by July 22. (Jae C. Hong / Associated…)
NEW YORK — Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto said they were "very encouraged" by Dan Haren's full bullpen workout Thursday in Angel Stadium, a session the veteran right-hander, on the disabled list because of lower-back stiffness, will repeat Saturday with Class-A Inland Empire.
Barring a setback, Haren, who has been bothered all season by the injury, could make a minor league rehabilitation start Tuesday and join the Angels rotation for a July 22 game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim.
Haren, 31, entered 2012 with a 107-84 career record and 3.59 earned-run average. But his 6-8 record and 4.86 ERA this season, coupled with the struggles of Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.75 ERA), have put a major drag on what many thought would be one of baseball's best rotations.
How Haren, on the DL for the first time in his career, rebounds could determine whether the Angels pursue a starting pitcher — several prominent veterans, including Cole Hamels, Zack Greinke, Matt Garza and Wandy Rodriguez, could be available — before the July 31 nonwaiver trade deadline.
"I think we should have a clear indication of what our rotation is going to look like over the next few weeks," Dipoto said. "Like I've said before, the best moves we can make are internal, getting a healthy Dan Haren back and Ervin Santana pitching the way he can."
What if only one, or neither, of those things happen?
"We'll assess it as we go and create contingency plans, but the early returns on Dan is that he's coming along really well," Dipoto said. "Dan Haren is an All-Star performer, a guy who has gotten Cy Young votes. We couldn't make a more impactful addition than getting a healthy Dan Haren back."
Jerome Williams, sidelined for 31/2 weeks because of a respiratory problem, will come off the DL to start Saturday, Jered Weaver will pitch Sunday, and Santana is scheduled Monday night in Detroit.
Scioscia wouldn't say whether Brad Mills, who threw five scoreless innings in last Sunday's win over Baltimore, or Garrett Richards would start Tuesday, but Richards didn't help his cause with a 31/3-inning, eight-run, 11-hit effort for triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday.
"It was the same thing that plagued him in his last couple of starts with us," Scioscia said. "He had good stuff but trouble locating his pitches."
Catcher Chris Iannetta, out since May 9 because of a broken right wrist and forearm strain, continues to long-toss and is scheduled to throw to bases early next week in Detroit. Barring a setback, he could begin a minor league rehab assignment late next week. . . . The Angels signed 38 of 40 draft picks before Friday's deadline for what Dipoto said was "well under" their Major League Baseball-alotted budget. The two players who didn't sign were Radford University shortstop Jeff Kemp (31st round) and Connecticut high school catcher Justin Morhardt (39th).