08/03/12 10:10 PM ET
Aybar on track to return Monday in Oakland
By Brian Hedger / Special to MLB.com
Aybar has been out since July 21 with a broken toe in his right foot, but Scioscia likes what he's seen from his rehab work recently.
"Erick Aybar ran the cuts, feels good and he'll pick up his workouts," the Angels manager said prior to Friday night's game against the White Sox. "Right now, [returning Monday] is a probability. There's still some things he has to do, but he's moving along great."
As for reliever Scott Downs, who recently went on the DL with a strained left shoulder, the timeline isn't as progressive.
"Scott Downs is still just taking it easy," Scioscia said. "He won't pick up a ball until early next week."
Wilson asked to be more aggressive on mound
CHICAGO -- The Angels still have a lot of confidence in starter C.J.Wilson and the deep repertoire of pitches that he brings to the mound.
It's just that manager Mike Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher would like him to work on his strategy a little bit, especially early in pitch counts. Wilson had a meeting with Scioscia at U.S. Cellular Field prior to Friday's game against the White Sox that was deemed a "strategy meeting" by the Angels skipper.
According to Butcher, Wilson isn't being asked to pitch to contact, per se, but the Angels would like him to use his stuff more aggressively to get outs quicker and work deeper into games.
"He has the ability to go deep [in games]," Butcher said. "He's in tremendous shape. He does a lot of work. He's very well prepared. He gets his mind right in the right way. [It's] just trying to really get him a little more efficient with his pitches. I think when he does that, he'll get himself deeper into ballgames. His stuff speaks for itself."
Wilson, who took the loss in a 15-9 defeat at Rangers Ballpark on Thursday night, has gone just 1-5 in his last six starts after winning eight in a row from May 22 to July 1. In the six starts he's made spanning July 6 to Aug. 3, Wilson has averaged 115 pitches and fewer than seven innings -- allowing 25 earned runs and 17 walks.
"Every pitch doesn't have to set up another pitch," Butcher said. "He has enough stuff to where we think he can go out there and be a little bit more efficient early in the count and get some early outs. He's probably got the most quality starts in the American League, if not in baseball. He's done a nice job. It's just looking at it from a different angle of how he's going to go out there and attack."
That different approach?
"You go in there with a strategy of getting a hitter out in three pitches or less," Butcher said. "[It's] throwing every pitch that you throw to get an out. I'm talking about commanding counts, controlling counts and being more efficient. Attacking hitters would be more of having a mindset that we're going to get this guy out on every pitch and try to do it within three pitches or less and trying to do it that way."
It's not necessarily forgoing strikeouts, either.
"If he can strike out every guy on three pitches, by all means do it," Butcher quipped. "The thing about C.J. is he does have dynamic stuff. Everything has great movement. They're not just average pitches. They're all plus pitches. Just use them more efficiently and [get] outs that way."
Walden aims to get back on mound Monday
CHICAGO -- Angels pitcher Jordan Walden continues to play long toss in his recovery from neck soreness and a right biceps strain and hopes to get back on the mound Monday in Oakland to test it further.
Walden said he played long toss from 200 feet on Friday in Chicago with no pain.
"Everything was good," Walden said. "I'll play long toss again [on Saturday] and I should be back on the mound soon. [The test] is going to be getting on the mound a couple days in a row to see how it feels, but right now it's going great."
Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed the plan to keep Walden throwing long toss through the weekend series and hopefully get him on the mound Monday. Getting Walden back into a bullpen that's seen a lot of work recently is obviously something the Angels could really use heading into the final two months of the season.
"With Scott Downs and Jordan out, we've had to adjust some things," Scioscia said. "Any depth we get is going to be important and Jordan is part of that."
Brian Hedger is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.