Aybar, Madson, Jepsen head to extended spring camp
ANAHEIM -- After an impressive workout prior to Wednesday's game, shortstop Erick Aybar's return to the Angels' lineup appears to be coming sooner rather than later.
"With the workout he had today, he really jumped up and got a lot closer to where he needs to be to play with us," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll see how he feels in the morning. Hopefully get out there and play some defense tomorrow in a game."
Aybar won't be playing in a game for the Angels on Thursday, but he will be on the field in Arizona for extended spring training, a more controlled environment for him to test his bruised left heel.
"I think the test is the mobility at shortstop, the prep step, getting into all the things it takes to play a baseball game, then rebounding from that and feeling good the next day," Scioscia said.
While Aybar will likely be the next Angels player to be activated from the disabled list, relievers Kevin Jepsen and Ryan Madson will be joining him in Arizona. Jepsen (strained lat) and Madson (April 2012 Tommy John surgery) are still a ways away from getting back on the mound in a big league game, but the Angels feel their relievers will make more progress in Arizona than if they were to travel to Seattle and Oakland.
"We have so many guys that our [trainers] are trying to handle right now, not only on the DL, but guys that are playing banged up," Scioscia said. "They are going to be able to get much further ahead in a climate like Arizona and getting the one-on-one attention they really need."
Jepsen and Madson are both expected to be back in Anaheim for treatment when the team returns for a series against Baltimore on May 2.
Aside from the treatment in Arizona, the next steps for Jepsen and Madson are still up in the air. Jepsen has yet to throw a baseball since he was placed on the DL and doesn't expect to until next week. Madson was supposed to throw his second simulated game during the current home stand, but never did and does not have one scheduled.