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04/07/09 3:24 AM ET
Escobar gets nod for Class A opener
Halos righty continues fleet recovery from shoulder surgery
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- When Kelvim Escobar had shoulder surgery in July, it would have been crazy to imagine the right-hander taking the mound on Opening Day just eight months later. And while Escobar didn't take the mound for the Angels on Monday, he's still scheduled to start in Class A Rancho Cucamonga's opener on Thursday. His speedy recovery has amazed Angels manager Mike Scioscia as Escobar is two months ahead of schedule. "It's remarkable where is right now," Scioscia said. "He's throwing as well as he ever has." Escobar last pitched against the Padres at PETCO Park on Friday in an exhibition game, with his fastball hitting 95 mph. He allowed two runs over 3 1/3 innings while throwing 41 pitches. He's scheduled to throw 60 pitches in his next start, the first of what Scioscia said will be two or three more rehab starts before joining the Angels. "In a perfect world, we're talking about the last week of April or the first week of May," Scioscia said about the target date for Escobar to return. "But that's if he progresses and he gets to where he needs to be." Escobar said his shoulder is feeling good and that right now he's just listening to his coaches about how to approach his injury. "They want to make sure I'm on schedule and that everything is fine," Escobar said. Two more injured pitchers -- right-handers John Lackey and Ervin Santana -- both threw on Monday to try and get back to the Angels rotation. Lackey began his throwing program, while Santana threw off flat ground Scioscia didn't have a timeline for the return of Lackey and Santana, but he did express optimism about both returning soon. "We don't anticipate anything long range with them," Scioscia said. "These guys did throw in spring and their stuff was been as good as it's ever been."
Rhett Bollinger is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.