Pitcher Ervin Santana rejoins Angels
Ervin Santana rejoined the Angels Monday and said he felt no ill effects from Sunday night’s 45-pitch rehabilitation start, in which he gave up three hits, struck out seven and walked none in 3 1/3 innings of an Arizona Summer League game in Phoenix.
Santana, on the disabled list because of an inflamed triceps, will throw in the bullpen Wednesday, and if he comes out of that workout OK, Manager Mike Scioscia said Santana will be folded back into the rotation this weekend against Baltimore.
“Ervin is excited,” Scioscia said. “He threw all his pitches, felt no pain, and he maintained his velocity. He also felt good about the way his slider and changeup felt.”
Santana sat out the first six weeks of the season because of an elbow ligament sprain and did not regain full velocity of his fastball -- in the 95-mph range when he’s in peak form -- in his six starts, in which he is 1-3 with a 7.47 earned-run average.
The right-hander was surprised to learn his fastball was clocked at only 91-92 mph Sunday night, but Scioscia believes that’s enough velocity for Santana to be effective.
Santana had a similar fastball when he gave up one run and six hits in 8 2/3 innings of his only win this season, against Detroit on June 5.
“Where last year one number was 94 [mph], right now, one number looks to be 91,” Scioscia said. “But the guideline you have to use is, is it enough fastball? If he was at 91 mph and pitched at 85-86 mph, you’d probably be a little hesitant.
“But with his arm speed, and if he’s pitching at 91 mph and hitting 93 mph, with his power slider, he can do what he did against Detroit. He wasn’t lighting up the [radar] gun that night but pitched a terrific game. It’s in there.”
Scioscia doesn’t believe Santana has been reluctant to air out his fastball for fear of injury.
“When you first start your rehabilitation, there’s naturally a bit of the unknown, but we’re well past that,” Scioscia said. “It’s a matter of him trusting his delivery and reacquiring arm speed. Hopefully, he’s toward the last stage of that, where he can get all the kinks out and start throwing the ball like he can.”
Vladimir Guerrero, relegated to designated hitter while he recovers from a torn right chest muscle, took another step toward a return to the outfield when he threw to the bases, though not at full strength, on Monday. The right-fielder has extended his long-toss program to 180 feet.
“It’s a positive step if he comes out of it fine,” Scioscia said. “He’s still a couple of weeks away [from playing the outfield], but he’s moving forward.”
When Guerrero returns to the field, Scioscia will be able to use outfielders Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu and Juan Rivera in the DH spot, giving them a day off of their feet without losing their bats in the lineup.
More in-house pitching depth is on the horizon. Shane Loux, on the disabled list since May 17 because of an inflamed shoulder, gave up one run and three hits in 4 1/3 innings of a rehab start for triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday.
Loux, who is 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in eight games, six of them starts, for the Angels this season, threw 57 pitches Sunday. He will need two more rehab starts to reach the 90-pitch range, after which he’ll be a candidate for the Angels’ rotation or bullpen.
When: 5 PDT.
Where: The Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.
On the air: TV: FS West; Radio: 830, 980, 1330.
Pitchers: Joe Saunders vs. Scott Feldman.
Update: Saunders is not a big fan of the Rangers’ home park, where he has an 0-4 record and 10.29 earned-run average. In his last start there, on May 15, Saunders gave up seven runs and eight hits, including three home runs -- two of them to Ian Kinsler -- in a 10-8 loss, his worst outing this season. Even when he pitched well there July 8, throwing a complete game, Saunders lost to Texas, 3-2. Feldman is winless in his last four starts after opening the season with a 5-0 record, but he did throw six shutout innings, giving up four hits, in a 3-0 victory over the Angels on May 17.
-- Mike DiGiovanna