ANAHEIM -- Yunel Escobar's rehab has hit a bit of a snag, as the veteran third baseman felt stiffness in his back after taking a swing during his second game with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Wednesday night.Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar will be re-evaluated by the Angels' medical
ANAHEIM -- Yunel Escobar's rehab has hit a bit of a snag, as the veteran third baseman felt stiffness in his back after taking a swing during his second game with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Wednesday night.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar will be re-evaluated by the Angels' medical staff on Thursday and will need some more at-bats once he's cleared, which will likely make him unavailable for Friday's series opener against the Rangers. Escobar has been on the disabled list since Aug. 8 with a right oblique strain.
When Escobar does return, he is expected to reclaim his starting job at third, which will force Scioscia to make some tough lineup decisions regarding C.J. Cron and Luis Valbuena. The Angels have been able to start Cron at first base and Valbuena at third over the last few weeks, but the two infielders will have to split time at first again when Escobar re-enters the fold.
"I think that depth in our lineup will get even deeper when Yunel comes back," Scioscia said. "He's a guy that definitely knows his way around the batter's box. It'll be a plus to get him back there and get somebody else at-bats at first base and somebody off the bench that is swinging the bat well. That's not a bad thing."
Since Escobar's injury, the left-handed hitting Valbuena is batting .260 with a 1.033 OPS, six home runs and 15 RBIs in 17 games. Cron has also heated up over that stretch, hitting .310 with a .999 OPS, six homers and 14 RBIs in 20 games. He launched a pair of home runs against the A's on Tuesday and said afterward that felt he had benefited from playing on a more regular basis.
"Just the peace of mind coming to the field and knowing I'm playing," Cron said. "Not worrying about anything but baseball makes it a lot easier."
• Right-hander Garrett Richards tossed two scoreless innings in a rehab start for Triple-A Salt Lake on Wednesday. He allowed five hits, struck out two, walked one and threw 40 pitches in the outing. Richards has been out since April 5 with an irritated nerve in his right biceps.
• Andrelton Simmons received a rare day off on Wednesday, with Cliff Pennington starting at shortstop in his place. Simmons had not rested since June 28, starting 50 consecutive games over that stretch. He has missed only three of the Angels' 134 games this season.
• The Rangers announced Wednesday that they will donate 10 percent of the revenue from this weekend's series with the Angels at Globe Life Park to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund through the Greater Houston Community Foundation. Friday's series opener between the Rangers and the Angels will mark the first baseball game played in Texas since the devastating hurricane
Maria Guardado** covers the Angels for MLB.com.