03/30/07 11:15 PM ET
Notes: Bootcheck could be a shoe-in
Halos righty in position for roster spot after strong spring
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Bootcheck showed his resilience in delivering two-inning scoreless efforts on Wednesday in Arizona and on Thursday night at Dodger Stadium. He shaved his spring ERA to 2.84 with six walks and 12 strikeouts."It was a mental adjustment learning how to get loose quicker, but you don't have to save anything as a reliever," Bootcheck said. "We've got guys on the staff who have gone from starting to relieving, and I've been able to pick up little things from them. "I'm kind of blessed. I have a resilient arm." Aybar improving: Erick Aybar's sprained left foot was improving on Friday, Scioscia said, lifting hopes that the swift, versatile young athlete will be available for a spot on the 25-man roster. Aybar was treated in Anaheim and "feels much better," Scioscia reported. "He's walking on the foot, putting pressure on it. We're optimistic. We'll look at it the next couple of days and see where we are." With Chone Figgins starting the season on the disabled list and not likely to play until May, Maicer Izturis moves from all-purpose backup to regular third baseman, supported by Robb Quinlan. That leaves a void that Aybar -- a natural shortstop who has smoothly handled exposure this spring to second base and the outfield -- had hoped to fill. "We went from a lot of depth there to being a little concerned," Scioscia said. Rivera, McPherson updates: Outfielder Juan Rivera, recovering from a broken left tibia suffered last December, says he'd like to be back swinging a bat "in July, maybe June if I'm lucky." Rivera is doing some work in the weight room but "is not yet into baseball activities," Scioscia said. "He'll continue to do his rehab here and maybe get started [with] baseball activities here. There is still a fuzzy window as to where Juan is. He's making a lot of progress, but it's tough to put a date on it as to when he'll be in the lineup. That's too far away." Third baseman Dallas McPherson's projected return from back surgery in January is deeper on the horizon. "Dallas is even longer term," Scioscia said. "We'll see where that is as we get through the summer. He's doing exercises now, a lot of range of motion and core stuff. He's obviously not close to baseball activities and probably won't be for some time. He's into a rehab scenario right now." Up next: The Angels wrap up their spring schedule on Saturday night at home when they send southpaw Joe Saunders against Dodgers All-Star right-hander Brad Penny at 6:05 p.m. PT. Saunders, making his sixth spring start, will be tuning up for his regular-season debut on Thursday night against Oakland at Angel Stadium.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.