|Lackey, Santana expected back this week|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on May 11, 2009
The Angels have been without co-aces John Lackey and Ervin Santana this season due to injury. Both could be returning sometime this week, which would be a tremendous relief to the Angels' rotation.
Angels ace John Lackey, in a rehabilitation start for triple-A Salt Lake, gave up three runs and five hits in five innings against Portland on Sunday, striking out five, walking none and retiring nine straight batters at one point.
Lackey, sidelined all season because of an elbow strain, threw 75 pitches, 49 for strikes, and there is a good chance that he and right-hander Ervin Santana, who threw five innings for Salt Lake on Saturday, will be activated this week.
The Angels, as expected, will use today's day off to skip Anthony Ortega in the rotation, and Jered Weaver, Matt Palmer and Joe Saunders will probably pitch against Boston this week.
Ortega was optioned to Salt Lake after Sunday's game, and the Angels will probably add a third catcher Tuesday as insurance on the days catcher Mike Napoli starts as designated hitter.
The Angels will make decisions on Lackey and Santana after reviewing tapes of their games at Salt Lake.
"We don't want [them] to waste bullets pitching in the minor leagues," Scioscia said, "but we also want to make sure [they're] ready for the challenge."
While Kelvim Escobar is still a ways away from making an impact, Lackey and Santana should provide depth at the top of the Angels rotation. If they do that, the Angels can rise to the top of the AL West.
The only problem is that Lackey has been injury prone in the past, while Santana has a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. To use manager Mike Scioscia's phrase, how many bullets are in their arms? The Angels season depends on them staying healthy and effective.