Bartolo Colon’s balky back acted up again Tuesday, throwing the Angels’ pitching plans for the rest of the season into question.
The Angels had penciled in Colon to make three more starts, all on three days’ rest. But when recurrent back stiffness forced the ace out of Tuesday’s game, the Angels went home hoping he could make his next start -- and wondering whether they should risk any starts on three days’ rest.
“A lot of it will be contingent on Bart’s back,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’d rather have the whole Bartolo out there, even if it’s only for two more starts, as opposed to try to squeeze an extra one and get half of Bartolo. We’ll measure this very carefully.”
Ervin Santana is scheduled to start Thursday and Paul Byrd on Friday. The Angels had wanted Colon to start Saturday, so he would be in line to start against Oakland on Sept. 28 and against Texas on the final day of the season, if needed. The Angels also have considered using John Lackey on three days’ rest.
Jarrod Washburn has missed his last two starts because of tendinitis in his left elbow. He plans to test the elbow today and could start Saturday.
Colon pitched seven innings Tuesday, but he left the game after throwing warmup pitches before the eighth inning. He said his back had stiffened and his left leg had cramped. However, he also said the stiffness that previously covered his whole back had diminished to one spot.
“Overall, my back is much better,” Colon said through interpreter Jose Mota.
The Chicago White Sox led the American League Central by 15 games on Aug. 1, a lead that has shrunk to 3 1/2 games. If the White Sox cough up the rest of the lead, they would replace the Angels as the team that blew the largest Aug. 1 lead, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The 1995 Angels led the AL West by 11 games on Aug. 1. Joe Maddon, the lone remaining coach from that team, said he isn’t hoping the White Sox lose the division so the Angels lose that dubious record.
“I don’t wish that upon anybody else,” Maddon said. “Not at all.”
Tickets for possible first-round playoff games at Angel Stadium will go on sale Monday at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available via the team website (www.angelsbaseball.com) and Ticketmaster charge line (714-663-9000).