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Norris on track to return Wednesday

Reliever has been out with knee soreness; Escobar also nearing return
MLB.com @mi_guardado

OAKLAND -- Bud Norris, who has been sidelined since Aug. 27 with right knee inflammation, threw a bullpen at the Coliseum on Monday morning and could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as he's eligible on Wednesday, according to manager Mike Scioscia.

"I haven't gotten a report from [pitching coach] Charlie [Nagy], but leading up to it he was feeling much better, so we're optimistic right now," Scioscia said. "If he got through his workout OK and feels good tomorrow, then we're on the right track, for sure."

Full Game Coverage

OAKLAND -- Bud Norris, who has been sidelined since Aug. 27 with right knee inflammation, threw a bullpen at the Coliseum on Monday morning and could be ready to come off the disabled list as soon as he's eligible on Wednesday, according to manager Mike Scioscia.

"I haven't gotten a report from [pitching coach] Charlie [Nagy], but leading up to it he was feeling much better, so we're optimistic right now," Scioscia said. "If he got through his workout OK and feels good tomorrow, then we're on the right track, for sure."

Full Game Coverage

Norris, 32, logged a 4.41 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 22 walks over 51 innings for the Angels before his knee flared up and led to his second stint on the disabled list this season. When he returns, the Angels will have at least 13 relievers in their bullpen for September.

Yunel Escobar also drew closer to rejoining the Angels after swinging a bat on Monday for the first time since experiencing back stiffness during his rehab game with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Wednesday.

Scioscia said it's unclear if Escobar will be able to get some at-bats in a Minor League game before returning, as the club's Triple-A affiliate ended its season on Monday.

"It could be a little dicey, just because of where his rehab is," Scioscia said. "We're not going to rush his rehab and say, 'OK, you've got to be ready to go play some games somewhere.'

"He just started swinging the bat today. He was far enough along where obviously he wasn't knocked back to ground zero, where he'd have to take BP for five or six days. We're going to see how he feels swinging today, let him rest before BP on the field, and then we'll see exactly where we are and what he can do."

The Angels have been platooning Luis Valbuena and Cliff Pennington at third base since Escobar went down with a right oblique strain last month, but Scioscia said the plan is still for Escobar to reclaim his everyday job when he comes back. Escobar, 34, is batting .274 with a .730 OPS, seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 89 games this season.

Worth noting

Martin Maldonado, who started all three of the Angels' games in Texas over the weekend, was also behind the plate for Monday's series opener against the A's. He leads the Majors with a career-high 117 games caught this season.

"I think he's holding up well," Scioscia said. "There's always some attrition in everything in this game that you need to do, but his energy is still there, he's calling great games, so he's doing things that are important to us."

Blake Parker has earned a save in each of his last four appearances for the Angels, but Scioscia, as he has all season, would not declare him the club's official closer.

"I think we have guys that are going to be our high-leverage guys and are going to hold leads," Scioscia said. "He's definitely going to pitch at the back end of games."

• The Angels recalled infielder Jefry Marte from Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday, giving them 33 players on their active roster. They also claimed right-hander Dayan Diaz from the Astros and optioned him to Rookie-level Orem. To clear a spot for Diaz on the 40-man roster, the Angels designated right-hander Daniel Wright for assignment.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Angels, Yunel Escobar, Bud Norris