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05/14/09 3:14 PM ET

Guerrero to take batting practice on Friday

Angels slugger recovering from torn right pectoral muscle

ANAHEIM -- Vladimir Guerrero will take a significant step toward returning to the Angels' lineup on Friday when he takes batting practice for the first time in Texas, where the Angels will open a three-game series against their American League West rivals.

Guerrero has been sidelined since April 16 with a torn right pectoral muscle, resulting, he thinks, from a throw he made during a preseason game at Dodger Stadium on April 2.

Guerrero appeared in eight games, all as a designated hitter, batting .250 with one homer and three RBIs before the tear was discovered by Dr. Lewis Yocum, the Angels' orthopedist, on an MRI.

"When you get on the field and start taking batting practice, that's a huge step," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's going to start on Friday taking batting practice."

Guerrero has been taking swings at soft-toss pitching and on a tee, and he has been shagging fly balls during batting practice, making underhanded throws. It will be a while before he's able to cut loose with throws, making him a designated hitter indefinitely when he does return.

That could come in a 10-day to two-week time frame, if all goes well with his batting-practice sessions.

"I've been feeling better," Guerrero said. "We'll see how it goes."

The Angels are eager to get their big man back in the heart of the order, creating havoc.

"At some point, you've got to see some velocity," Scioscia said. "He's going on five weeks now. He's got to see some velocity, see how things react. We've got to take it one step at a time.

"After BP for four or five days, you start to get a read on him, and he's building up stamina. He's got a ways to go. You've got to get a player to where he can turn his bat loose. You're talking about his whole trunk. A lot of things can set you back.

"Hopefully, it'll be shorter term than in Spring Training when you start swinging the bat."

Guerrero, 34, last season became the second player in history to record 11 consecutive seasons of batting at least .300 with 25 or more homers, joining Lou Gehrig.

A potential free agent after the season, Guerrero is in his sixth year with the Angels. He is seven home runs away from 400.

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.