TEMPE, Ariz. — His surgically repaired right elbow has felt great all spring, and the tendinitis in his left knee hasn't bothered him of late, but a new issue popped onto pitcher Kelvim Escobar's medical chart Saturday.
The Angels right-hander was pulled from an 11-1 exhibition loss to Colorado because of a strain in the lower left side of his back, an injury he sustained lunging for Kazuo Matsui's third-inning grounder.
Escobar threw one warmup pitch and told Manager Mike Scioscia he could continue, but with Bartolo Colon and Jered Weaver opening the season on the disabled list and Scioscia not wanting to risk further injury, Escobar was removed for precautionary reasons.
"It scared me," Escobar said. "When I felt it, I thought, 'Wow, I pulled it.' But everything is OK. They think it was just a back spasm."
After stretching and receiving massage therapy, Escobar's back was already feeling better. He expects to make his next scheduled start, against the Dodgers in the Freeway Series opener Thursday night, and to be ready for the second game of the regular season against Texas on April 3.
"Any time a pitcher is holding that area, you're worried about a rib-cage injury, which can really set you back, but that doesn't appear to be the case," Scioscia said. "We'll have time to get him where he needs to be."
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"Trying to hit him was like trying to drink coffee with a fork." - Willie Stargell on Sandy Koufax