Shields still recovering from surgery

One of the Angels' top relief pitchers won't be ready to work from a mound at the start of spring training.

Scot Shields flew from his home in Michigan to meet with Angels trainers last month and has yet to be cleared to throw off the mound. Nearly eight months after undergoing surgery to repair the patella tendon in his left knee last June 16, Shields has been limited to playing catch.

Angels pitchers and catchers report to spring training Feb. 17, with the first workout scheduled for the next day.

"I don't know how quickly I'll get on a mound. We'll probably have to take it slow," Shields said.

"We've got a whole month-and-a-half or two months to get ready."

Shields predicted he would be ready to go by Opening Day, April 5.

"I know my body. It's close to being 100 percent and we've still got two months," Shields said.

From 2003-08, Shields was among the most effective and heavily used relievers in the American League. Shields pitched 425 innings in that span, the most among major league relievers. Shields had a 6.62 ERA before his season ended prematurely last May.

"No excuse, but I was feeling it pretty good," he said.

The Angels' bullpen had a 4.49 ERA last season, ranking them 11th out of 14 American League teams. Shields is expected to compete with newcomer Fernando Rodney and Kevin Jepsen as the primary set-up man for closer Brian Fuentes.

Mark Saxon covers the Angels for ESPNLosAngeles.com.