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Thursday, April 21, 2011
Angels rotation nearly at 80 percent

By Mark Saxon

Joel Pineiro's recovery from a shoulder injury appears to have taken a turn for the best, and it's possible he could return to the Angels rotation by the end of this month.

Pineiro felt so good after his 45-pitch outing in extended spring training Wednesday that he told Angels manager Mike Scioscia he could be ready after just one more minor-league rehab outing. He'll make that Monday with the Class A Inland Empire 66ers. His next start could come in either Tampa Bay or Boston on the Angels' next road trip.

Pineiro said he threw his sinker -- which he throws about 95 percent of the time -- at 87 to 89 mph, which is exactly where he wants it to be. He even argued he could make his next start in the major leagues.

"I told them, 'You can take the leash off now,' " Pineiro said. "I feel ready."

The Angels appear to be in no hurry to usher in the return of their other injured starter, Scott Kazmir. Scioscia said he'll make another start in extended spring training before the team makes any plans for a minor-league outing.