Colon Reports Painless Return

Times Staff Writer

Bartolo Colon threw two scoreless innings Thursday, his first live innings since he walked off the Angel Stadium mound in Game 5 of the American League division series with a sore right shoulder.

He threw only 34 pitches against a lineup of Milwaukee Brewer minor leaguers, but the outing was enough to send the 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner off to pitch in the World Baseball Classic.

Colon is scheduled to pitch Tuesday when the Dominican Republic plays Venezuela.

Dominican Manager Manny Acta told Angel Manager Mike Scioscia he would limit Colon to 50 pitches, 15 fewer than the maximum allowed for pitchers in the first round.

Colon said he is free of shoulder soreness and the back pain he believes ultimately caused it.

"The way I see it, we're going to be competing ... and I'm going to go full bore," he said.

Scioscia said he is confident Colon would not be at any more risk for injury in the tournament than he would be in Angel camp, but pitching coach Bud Black said Colon, like other pitchers, almost certainly will exceed his normal spring routine.

"My concerns are, especially early, that in a game that has nationalism on the line the intensity is going to be different than an exhibition spring training game," he said.

"On the other hand, I'm excited for these guys. If they had this thing when I was pitching and they wanted me, I'm going."

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The Angels' four Venezuelan representatives to the World Baseball Classic -- Francisco Rodriguez, Kelvim Escobar, Juan Rivera and Edgardo Alfonzo -- joined many of their countrymen on a flight from Phoenix to Tampa, Fla., on Thursday afternoon.

Rivera said he expected Omar Vizquel, Freddy Garcia and Carlos Zambrano, among others, on the same flight. They'll be shuttled to Clearwater, where they will train until Tuesday's opener against the Dominican Republic.

Noting the withdrawals of Dominicans Manny Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero and Pedro Martinez, Rivera smiled and said, "We've got a chance."

Rodriguez and Escobar threw their regular bullpen sessions before leaving.

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In a charity game that will not count in the Cactus League standings, the Angels had 15 hits and beat the Brewers, 12-1. Orlando Cabrera homered in the first and Jeff Mathis homered in the fifth. Tim Salmon had a hit and a walk in two plate appearances. Chone Figgins committed two errors at third base. Jeff Weaver gave up a run in two innings. Scot Shields, who will report to the U.S. team today, pitched one scoreless inningGuerrero, mourning the loss of three cousins in a car accident in the Dominican Republic this week, did not play. .... John Lackey, who had a sore right shoulder and did not throw for four days, played catch Thursday.

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