Angels pitcher Joel Pineiro leaves game because of shoulder injury
The Angels' pitching rotation might have been dealt a considerable blow Sunday when right-hander Joel Pineiro, who started a triple-A game so the team could better regulate his workload, left after two innings because of tightness under his right shoulder blade.
Pineiro was scheduled to throw at least six innings and 90 pitches but left after only 35 pitches, giving up no runs, one hit and one walk while striking out one. The Angels were playing Colorado in Scottsdale, Ariz., when they learned of Pineiro's setback, but the severity of the injury was unknown.
Pineiro was a dependable and effective starter for the Angels for most of 2010, going 10-7 with a 3.84 earned-run average on the season, but he strained a rib-cage muscle while warming up for a July 28 game against the Boston Red Sox and missed almost two months.
If Pineiro is unable to start the season, the Angels could move left-handed reliever Hisanori Takahashi into the rotation. Their other two options are right-hander Matt Palmer, who was rocked for six runs and 10 hits in Sunday's game against the Rockies, or right-hander Trevor Bell, who has been slowed for the last three weeks by an arm injury and might not be ready for the season.
--Mike DiGiovanna in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Photo: Angels starter Joel Pineiro delivers a pitch against the Milwuakee Brewers earlier this month. Credit: Nam Y. Huh / Associated Press