Kelvim Escobar, in what is expected to be his final minor league rehabilitation start before rejoining the Angels, gave up five runs -- four earned -- and eight hits in five innings for triple-A Salt Lake against Reno on Monday night.
The right-hander, who had shoulder surgery and sat out the 2008 season, threw 87 pitches, 46 for strikes. His fastball was clocked from 91 to 94 mph, but he had trouble commanding his off-speed pitches. He walked two and struck out one.
Escobar is penciled in to start Saturday in Detroit. It would be his first big league game since he pitched against Boston in the 2007 American League division series.
Escobar, who was shut down for most of April because of an inflamed shoulder, also made two starts for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, where he decided to remove the slider from his six-pitch repertoire.
"It's not like it's bad for my shoulder or elbow, but right now, I don't need it," Escobar said. "I have the curveball, split-fingered fastball and changeup, with good command of my two-seam and four-seam fastball. That's all I need."
Escobar's return will push Matt Palmer, who is 5-0 with a 4.06 earned-run average, to the bullpen.
In Ervin they trust
If the Angels are concerned about Ervin Santana, who was rocked for 15 runs and 19 hits in 6 1/3 innings of his last two starts and looks like a shell of the All-Star who was 16-7 with a 3.49 ERA last season, they're hiding it well.
The velocity of his fastball, usually in the 95-mph range, has been about 90 mph in four starts, and his off-speed pitches lack life. But it appears Santana, who sat out the first six weeks because of an elbow ligament sprain, will continue to get the ball.
"As long as he's healthy, we have every confidence he's going to start pitching the way he can," Manager Mike Scioscia said.
No Halladay picnic
Roy Halladay, who will start for the Blue Jays today, is tough on most batters, but has been especially tough on the Angels.
Juan Rivera is hitless in 14 at-bats against him. Torii Hunter (.133 in 30 at-bats), Bobby Abreu (.176 in 34 at-bats) and Gary Matthews Jr. (.207 in 29 at-bats) have struggled against him. Only Howie Kendrick (five for 10) and Mike Napoli (three for eight) have had decent success.
When: 4 PDT.
Where: Rogers Centre.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980, 1330.
Pitchers: Joe Saunders vs. Roy Halladay; Wednesday, 4 p.m. PDT -- Jered Weaver (4-2, 2.36) vs. Casey Janssen (1-1, 4.15); Thursday, 9:30 a.m. PDT -- John Lackey (1-1, 6.05) vs. Brian Tallet (3-3, 4.26).
Update: Since giving up seven runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings of a 10-8 loss in Texas on May 15, Saunders has given up three earned runs and 11 hits in 13 2/3 innings of two starts, a win over Seattle and a loss to the Chicago White Sox. Halladay has given Toronto quality starts -- going six innings or more and giving up three earned runs or less -- in nine of 11 games, including an eight-inning, one-run, six-hit effort in a 13-1 win in Angel Stadium on May 6. He has 68 strikeouts and 11 walks in 82 innings and has held opponents to a .244 average.
-- Mike DiGiovanna