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Angels' Sandoval back on the sidelines

March 5, 2011 | 12:41 pm

Sandoval_300 Two years ago infielder Freddy Sandoval was a rising star in the Angels' organization. The team's minor league player of the year, he hit .335 and led the Pacific Coast League in hits (176) and doubles (45) at Triple A Salt Lake in 2008.

But he's fallen on tough luck since. On Thursday he strained a muscle in his side during a fielding drill and could be out for two months. This comes the spring after he was limited to 22 games by a strained right elbow. And that followed a 2009 season in which missed 2-1/2 months after undergoing surgery on his left wrist.

"It sucks," a disappointed Sandoval said Saturday. "Especially since I came in here in the best shape of my life."

Sandoval, an eighth-round pick in the 2004 draft, will turn 29 in August.

There was some better news regarding the injuries to Alberto Callaspo and Kendry Morales. Callaspo, who hasn't played in the field this spring because of shoulder soreness, began playing catch Saturday and, if his throwing program progresses as anticipated, he could be playing in the infield by the end of the week. Callaspo was in the Angels' lineup as the designated hitter against the Brewers on Saturday.

Morales, meanwhile, is close to being able to run naturally on a treadmill, placing his full body weight on the ankle he broke in May. That, Manager Mike Scioscia said, is the next significant hurdle Morales needs to clear if the first baseman hopes to be ready by opening day. Morales said Friday he believes he has to be back on the field within a week to 10 days in order to be ready for the regular season, an estimate Scioscia agreed with.

“Kendry has time," Scioscia said. "If he’s out there, able to play in the last seven to 10 [spring] games, then he’s gong to be able to start the season. Once he’s comfortable with a running progression, he runs on the bases, he’s ready to play in games.

"When that’s going to be, I don’t know. But we’re very encouraged that he’s moved forward enough in these three weeks that we’ve been here to be ready for the start of the season. We’re very optimistic."

-- Kevin Baxter in Phoenix, Ariz.

Photo: Freddy Sandoval participates in a fielding drill last month during spring training. Credit: Mark Duncan / Associated Press