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Angels' Pineiro has return pushed back

April 2, 2011 | 10:13 am

Pineiro_300 The Angels had hoped to have Joel Pineiro back in their rotation for their first homestand of the season next week. But the right-hander came out of his most recent bullpen session with some soreness in his right shoulder, forcing the Angels to scrap his scheduled minor league rehab start and leaving the team uncertain when he will pitch again.

"He's got some recurring tightness back up behind the shoulder," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're going to push him back at least one turn just to make sure we get it all worked out. We don't think it's going to be a huge setback."

The new plan calls for Pineiro to long toss off flat ground next week in Tampa and if he comes out of that OK, he could throw a bullpen session when the team gets home next weekend.

The Angels won't need a fifth starter until April 12 against Cleveland at Angel Stadium. That spot was supposed to go to Pineiro, who had a good spring, going 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA. That's unlikely to happen now. In Pineiro's absence, the Angels could promote either Matt Palmer or Trevor Bell from the minors to his place.

"We do have some wiggle room to where we can move some things around," said Scioscia, whose team has two days off in the season's first eight days. "Joel's got a little bit of time. We want him in the rotation. He's important to us. But right now we've got a little bit of time to make sure that he's sound when he takes the ball. We're going to make sure he's healthy."

Pineiro threw 59 pitches in a minor league game earlier this week and came out of that feeling fine. But his sore shoulder stiffened up following a bullpen session Thursday in Kansas City, forcing the Angels to pull him from a scheduled rehab game Sunday in Arizona.

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-- Kevin Baxter in Kansas City, Mo.

Photo: Joel Pineiro. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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