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Colon Plans Spring Return

Times Staff Writer

Bartolo Colon, out for the season because of a partial rotator-cuff tear, will travel to Arizona later this month or early next month to begin an extensive, 10-week rehabilitation program that he expects will lead to a full recovery by next spring.

“I know there’s no magic wand to say I’ll be cured in so much time,” Colon said Saturday through an interpreter, his first public comments since his Aug. 4 diagnosis. “It’s something I haven’t gone through before, but I’m not fearful. I’m going to work hard to get it right. I’m going to be ready for spring training.”

The question is, which Colon will show up in Arizona next February? The workhorse with the 96-mph fastball, the reliable right-hander who went 21-8 with a 3.48 earned-run average and won the American League Cy Young Award in 2005?

Or the wobbly 33-year-old who never looked quite right after returning from last October’s shoulder tear, the pitcher whose fastball rarely topped 92 mph and who tried to finesse his way through 10 starts this season, going 1-5 with a 5.11 ERA?

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“My velocity is going to come back -- I have no reason to doubt,” Colon said. “I’ve seen guys go through this before. I’m not going to throw 99-100 mph like I did with the Indians, but my velocity will be where it’s been the last couple years with the Angels.”

Colon’s friend and fellow Dominican, Pedro Martinez, bounced back -- without surgery -- from a similar injury in 2001 to go 20-4 with a 2.26 ERA and 239 strikeouts for the Red Sox in 2002.

Angels teammate Joe Saunders sat out 2003 because of a rotator-cuff tear, chose an aggressive rehabilitation program over surgery and was fully recovered by 2004, going a combined 13-10 for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and double-A Arkansas.

Dr. Lewis Yocum, Angels team physician, “clearly stated the tear can be cured without surgery, and I respect him, because a lot of people I know have worked with him,” Colon said. “That was good news to me. If the tear was bigger, surgery would have been the only option. I’m very glad that wasn’t even mentioned.”

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When Colon completes his program in Arizona, he will return to the Dominican to work with personal trainer Angel Presinal. Colon said he had no concerns over a recent New York Daily News report linking Presinal to a possible doping scandal involving former Cleveland slugger Juan Gonzalez in 2001.

“There’s a guy who pushes me to the limit and understands my body more than anybody else,” said Colon, who hired Presinal in 2003. “Whatever happened in the past with him, I’m not going to judge him

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Just when Garret Anderson was heating up at the plate, batting .342 (13 for 38) with four home runs and 10 runs batted in over his last 10 games, the left fielder sat out Saturday because of tightness in his lower back and is questionable for today.

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“Hopefully it will just be a day or two and it won’t linger,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Anderson, who has been slowed by foot, hamstring and back injuries. “He’s been swinging very well lately.”


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