Big surprise here... Probably opens up a spot for Santana as the fifth starter.
By Mike DiGiovanna, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
February 7, 2008
The shoulder inflammation that forced Kelvim Escobar to miss a start in late September flared up again this winter, and the Angels right-hander, coming off a career year, is expected to open the season on the disabled list.
An MRI test showed no significant changes in the shoulder from last fall, which "was somewhat of a relief," General Manager Tony Reagins said, but Manager Mike Scioscia acknowledged that the rehabilitation program the team has mapped out won't have Escobar ready by the March 31 season opener at Minnesota.
"It's doubtful he'll be ready for the start of the season, but if the strength comes back in the shoulder, he has a good chance to be very strong early in the year and come back and do what he did last year," Scioscia said.
"You can't rush it. There is some weakness in some areas that need to be strengthened, and once they are, [the Angels' medical staff] will feel more comfortable with him throwing."
Pitchers and catchers report for spring training next Thursday, but Escobar, who went 18-7 with a 3.40 earned-run average in 30 starts in 2007, has already begun his rehabilitation in Tempe, Ariz., and will be very limited during spring workouts.
Escobar, 31, has been slowed in recent years by knee and elbow problems, and he spent time on the DL last April because of shoulder problems. He is not expected to begin his throwing program until March.
"He'll definitely be behind the other pitchers," Reagins said. "As far as a timetable, we don't know when he'll be ready to pitch."
According to Reagins, Escobar, who is entering the second year of a three-year, $28.5-million contract, felt discomfort in the shoulder when he began throwing just before Christmas.
Escobar, who has the fourth-lowest ERA in the American League (3.44) since 2005, took a few weeks off, hoping the irritation would subside, but when he resumed throwing in mid-January, he felt more pain and called Reagins.
Escobar's injury will open up a rotation spot, which means right-hander Ervin Santana and left-hander Joe Saunders, who were expected to battle for the fifth rotation spot this spring, will both open the season in the rotation.http://www.latimes.com/sports/printedit