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05/18/09 11:30 PM ET
Escobar joins club for side session
Angels right-hander likely looking at Friday rehab start
By Doug Miller / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- For the first time in two weeks, Kelvim Escobar joined his teammates in a big league clubhouse on Monday. The sight of the Angels right-hander, who hasn't pitched since an exhibition start in San Diego on April 3, was a good indication that Escobar, coming back from shoulder surgery, will be heading off to pitch in Minor League rehab games soon. Escobar is tentatively slated to pitch for Class A Rancho Cucamonga on Friday in Lake Elsinore. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the plan is for Escobar to throw 60 pitches in that start, work up to 90 pitches, probably in a Triple-A game for Salt Lake, and hopefully be ready to rejoin the team when he's eligible to come off the 60-day disabled list on June 3 in Toronto. Escobar, who worked three innings of a controlled extended spring training game on Sunday, throwing 45 pitches, said his shoulder is in much better shape than when he was preparing for the PETCO Park game that set him back. "As of right now, I feel great," Escobar said. "I feel totally different than last time. Last time, I felt good, but I knew my strength wasn't quite [there]. Waking up today, my strength is back already." Scioscia said Escobar traveled to Seattle with the team to be evaluated closely by pitching coach Mike Butcher and head trainer Ned Bergert, particularly during a 60-pitch bullpen session scheduled for Tuesday. The team is still planning for Escobar to return as a starter, even though he came back from elbow problems in 2005 and helped the team to the American League Championship Series as a reliever. Escobar said he doesn't care what role he mans as long as he's pitching for the Angels in early June. After going 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 2007 and pitching in Game 3 of the AL Division Series that year in Boston, Escobar has not appeared in a Major League game. "I'll do anything," he said. "I'm just happy to be back pitching."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.