Notes: Rodriguez set to return

Notes: Rodriguez set to return

CHICAGO -- Francisco Rodriguez was back with the Angels as scheduled Tuesday afternoon and said he is ready to pitch.

The right-handed reliever emerged from his 20-pitch bullpen session in Rancho Cucamonga on Monday with no tightness or stiffness in his right forearm and the club confirmed it will activate Rodriguez from the disabled list in time for Wednesday's series finale with the White Sox.

"I'm ready to go," Rodriguez said, who is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 10 saves this season. "I'm ready to step out and help my teammates."

Rodriguez last pitched in a game when he earned a save in the first game of a doubleheader at Detroit on May 14. After sitting out a week, he experienced tightness during a bullpen session at Dodger Stadium and was placed on the 15-day DL, but he said that he is now 100 percent.

The 23-year-old Venezuelan will return to his closer's job, but with Scot Shields also available to close games and capable of throwing multiple innings, the Angels will limit Rodriguez's appearances, at least initially.

"I think back-to-back is certainly something that we can do," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Where you can get in trouble is when you get to four out of five, or five out of six, or seven out of nine; that is when you want to monitor that."

Rodriguez said he can pitch as often or whenever the club needs him, but is OK with the decision of the coaching staff. Now that he's back, he simply wants to stay.

"My goal was to stay healthy all year and I didn't do that," Rodriguez said, who had not been on the DL as a Major Leaguer. "Now, my goal is stay healthy for the rest of the season."

The Angels optioned right-hander Chris Bootcheck to Salt Lake to make room for Rodriguez.

Good news: Curtis Pride had a second round of X-rays on Tuesday in Los Angeles, and the results were normal. Dr. Norman Zemel examined Pride at the Kerlan-Jobe Clinic and determined Pride has a sprained right wrist. An MRI was deemed unnecessary.

Progressing: Vladimir Guerrero continues to improve in his recovery from a partially dislocated left shoulder. The 2004 American League MVP will begin taking dry swings as early as next Monday, Scioscia said.

From there, if the shoulder does not exhibit adverse reaction, he'll progress to hitting from a tee and playing soft toss, before taking batting practice.

"If the inflammation stays out and the strength continues to where it needs to be, he should keep that progression," Scioscia said. "It could come quickly."

Scioscia said Guerrero has full range of motion, but still is experiencing stiffness. No date has been set for his return.

Next step: Maicer Izturis worked out aggressively at shortstop on Tuesday and will report to Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday to begin a rehab assignment. Scioscia said he will work out for the next 3-4 days and could begin playing games for the Stingers as early as Monday.

Izturis strained the MCL in his left knee and was placed on the 15-day DL on April 27, retroactive to April 26.

Welcome aboard: Jered Weaver signed a Minor League deal with the Angels on Monday, earning a reported $4 million signing bonus, to beat the deadline by about an hour.

Weaver was the organization's first-round choice from last year, and is considered as polished as any pitching prospect from 2004. The Angels are pleased to have him in the fold.

"I wouldn't be honest to say it wasn't a surprise," Scioscia said of the signing. "We are pleasantly surprised to have Jered in the organization, and now the hard work begins."

Weaver has not participated in competitive baseball for nearly a year, but the Angels will send him to Class A Rancho Cucamonga to begin his professional career.

"He'll get what he needs in the Cal League," Scioscia said.

Lineup: Casey Kotchman got his first start as an Angel this season, batting in the seven-hole as the designated hitter on Tuesday. Dallas McPherson moved up to the five-hole and Chone Figgins batted leadoff and started in right for Guerrero.

On deck: The Angels will close out their three-game series with the White Sox on Wednesday. Right-hander Paul Byrd will face Chicago right-hander Jose Contreras. Game time has been moved up to 4:05 p.m. PT to accommodate ESPN, which will televise the game.

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.