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08/07/09 8:51 PM ET

Hunter back on track for return

Star center fielder set to begin rehab assignment

ANAHEIM -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia said Friday that injured center fielder Torii Hunter could start his rehab assignment early next week with Class A Rancho Cucamonga before rejoining the Angels for their four-game series in Baltimore next weekend.

Hunter, who was placed on the disabled list on July 10 because of a strained adductor muscle on his right side, worked out before Friday's game by running the bases and taking batting practice.

"He had a really aggressive workout today," Scioscia said. "He ran very well and he's close. I think if his practice keeps stepping up in the next day or two, hopefully he'll be ready for a rehab stint early next week and then join us in Baltimore."

Hunter said he's anxious to start his rehab assignment and that he's close to being ready to play in his first game.

"I've been going at like 80 to 90 percent out there," Hunter said. "I definitely feel that in the next five days I can go on a rehab stint and meet the team on the road."

Hunter was actually hoping to play in his first rehab games this weekend in his home state of Arkansas with the Double-A Arkansas Travelers, but suffered a minor setback when he failed a strength test after his workout on Wednesday.

"They put pressure on it and I'd try to keep my leg still but they could tell I was favoring one side," Hunter said.

Hunter admitted it's been tough watching the Angels instead of playing, but said he's excited to return and help out the team once he returns.

"I'm going crazy right now," Hunter said. "It's no fun. But I understand. I'm trying to be patient so I can come back for the stretch run."

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