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Erick Aybar nearing return to Angels' lineup

April 17, 2011 |  9:50 am

Erick-aybar_325 Shortstop Erick Aybar, limited to just three games this season by a strained muscle in his left ribcage, will make a minor league rehab assignment and, if everything goes well, could be back in the Angels' lineup during the team's next series in Texas.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Aybar played six innings in the field during an extended spring training camp in Arizona last week. Next the Angels want to see if the switch-hitter can bat from the right side without pain, and if he passes that test he would probably start Wednesday against Rangers left-hander Matt Harrison. Aybar is most likely to play in a Triple A game in Tucson, where the Angels' Pacific League Coast affiliate is playing Sunday and Monday.

Right-hander Joel Pineiro, on the disabled list with shoulder stiffness, was scheduled to throw his second bullpen session Sunday at the Angels' training complex in Tempe, Ariz., and could be rejoing the team soon while first baseman Kendrys Morales, originally expected to meet the Angels in Texas to continue his rehab, is likely to remain in Tempe where he has stepped up his running program. Morales hasn't played since breaking his ankle last May.

-- Kevin Baxter in Chicago

Photo: Erick Aybar during a spring training game. Credit; Gus Ruelas / Associated Press