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Escobar’s shoulder ‘doesn’t feel right’

The broken record plays on for Kelvim Escobar, who suffered yet another shoulder setback after playing catch Monday, one that has the right-hander less optimistic about his chances of pitching again this season.

The Angels hope Escobar, whose surgically repaired right shoulder did not respond well to his June 6 return to the rotation, can bolster the bullpen the way he did in 2005, when he returned from elbow surgery and went 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA in nine September relief appearances.

But Escobar, who missed all of 2008, has a “deep ache” in his shoulder and probably will be shut down indefinitely.

“It doesn’t feel right, and I don’t want to push through it; it’s still sore,” he said. “I expected to feel a lot better with all the exercises I’m doing and treatment I’m getting and the long break. But it’s still inflamed, and if I keep throwing, it’s going to get worse.”

Escobar, who was examined by team physician Lewis Yocum on Tuesday night, said there is “no doubt in my mind” he will pitch again this season, “but I don’t know how long it’s going to take,” he said. “Do I have doubts? Yes, I’m human. But I have to stay positive and keep working hard.”

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Rudy Seanez, who has missed most of June because of a strained pectoral muscle, is close to returning to triple-A Salt Lake, but the veteran right-hander may not be the answer to the Angels’ relief woes.

If Escobar does not return, the Angels may have no choice but to pursue a trade for a reliever.

“Tony is monitoring everything, from our bullpen to the minor leagues to outside the organization,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of General Manager Tony Reagins. “If in house, guys are still struggling, you’ll consider anything.”

Vlad shreds his dreads

Baseball players will do just about anything to break out of a slump, and Vladimir Guerrero, who entered 2009 with a string of 11 straight seasons in which he hit at least .300 with 25 homers or more, is no different.

Guerrero has had shoulder-length dreadlocks for more than a year, but on Tuesday, the Angels’ slugger, who had one home run and six extra-base hits in 128 at-bats this season, showed up with a crew cut, making him look younger and more aerodynamic.

“They found the Dead Sea Scrolls in there,” Scioscia said, when asked what he thought of Guerrero’s new hairdo. “I know one thing; he’s a lot more handsome today than he was yesterday.”

Guerrero, who missed five weeks of April and May because of a torn right chest muscle, entered Tuesday with a .281 average but has not driven the ball with any kind of authority or consistency.

“No one is feeling this any more than Vlad,” Scioscia said. “He feels he can drive pitches he’s missing. It’s definitely not a bat-speed issue. Hopefully he can ride this storm out and swing the bat like he did in the second half last year.”

Shields is for now a mere bystander

Reliever Scot Shields, still on crutches after undergoing season-ending knee surgery June 16, is struggling to adjust to his new role as cheerleader.

“It’s weird watching games; it’s still stressful,” Shields said. “I’m pulling for them, but you know you can’t help them.”

Shields, who has never had major arm problems despite his heavy workload, gained an appreciation for those who have experienced the feeling of a pain blocker wearing off after surgery.

“They always ask how the pain is from one to 10, 10 being worst,” Shields said. “I know what a nine feels like now.”

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com


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