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Angels reliever Scot Shields confident he'll recover fully from knee surgery

February 17, 2010 |  1:40 pm

Scot TEMPE, Ariz. -- Scot Shields reported to spring training camp Wednesday with his usual gusto, the left-knee surgery that sidelined the Angels reliever for most of 2009 barely a blip on his radar.

"If the season started today," the veteran right-hander said, "I'd be ready."

The Angels, of course, plan to bring Shields along at a much slower pace. Shields, who went 1-3 with a 6.62 earned run average in 20 games last April and May before undergoing surgery to repair his patella tendon on June 16, is not scheduled to throw off a mound for the first few weeks of camp, but he has been playing catch for several weeks with no pain.

"This was the game plan since I had the surgery," Shields said in Tempe's Diablo Stadium. "I still feel it a little, but that's normal. It takes a while to get rid of that. But the ball is coming out real good; I know that."

A sound Shields, one of baseball's most durable and dependable relievers from 2004-2008, would be a huge boost to a bullpen that also features veterans Brian Fuentes and Fernando Rodney and maturing youngsters Kevin Jepsen and Jason Bulger.

"There aren't many teams that have quantity and quality in their bullpen," Shields said. "We have both."

-- Mike DiGiovanna

Photo: Scot Shields. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times