Notes: Colon's status uncertain

Notes: Colon's status uncertain

CHICAGO -- The Angels got the news on Bartolo Colon's right shoulder, which can best be described as mixed.

An MRI exam taken Wednesday morning did not indicate any major structural damage, but instead confirmed what team physician Lewis Yocum initially diagnosed, that Colon has a strain in the back part of the right shoulder.

"He will continue on a conservative course of treatment and we will re-evaluate him in a few more days," said general manager Bill Stoneman, who added that surgery was not imminent.

Colon suffered the injury in Game 5 of the American League Division Series in Anaheim on Monday. Facing the Yankees' Robinson Cano leading off the second inning, he was lifted for rookie Ervin Santana. Colon has also been bothered by lower back pain, but Stoneman felt the two injuries were unrelated.

The Angels have already planned to be without Colon in the AL Championship Series against the White Sox. He was replaced by right-handed reliever Esteban Yan on the roster for the series and Santana will take his spot in the rotation.

It remains unclear if Colon's condition will improve to the point where he can pitch in the World Series if the Angels were to advance. But the Angels will not risk the investment in Colon, who is signed through 2007, to win a title.

"He is not going to get out there if there is any risk to his long-term future," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It all depends on what transpires over the next week or so."

Colon led the AL in victories in the regular season, posting a 21-8 record with 3.48 ERA. He took the 4-2 loss in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees, but if left fielder Garret Anderson is playing regular depth, Cano's three-run double is an inning-ending out and Colon might have been the winner.

The Angels would rather have Colon in the rotation than not, but will confidently turn to the other players on the roster.

"Every player is vital to us, but this team has been resilient as any," Stoneman said. "They've been stepping up to the challenges all year. This can open the door for Santana. He did the other day. This is a team game."

Management material: A couple of manager jobs are still open in Major League Baseball, with both the Dodgers and Devil Rays in need of skippers.

Longtime Angels coach Joe Maddon is respected as having one of the better baseball minds in the business, easily as comfortable with a spread sheet as he is with a fungo. Maddon has been in the organization for 31 years and has six years experience as a manager in the Minors, with also a 33-26 record in three separate interim managerial stints with the Angels.

The Angels have not been contacted by any club and Maddon said he would go through the proper channels and not actively campaign for a job. But the Devil Rays are reportedly interested, and Maddon likes what he sees in Tampa Bay.

"It is a nice little ballclub down there, real nice," Maddon said. "It's the closest situation that compares to what we had here a couple of years ago."

Put me in, coach: With the latest hits to the starting rotation, Scot Shields has been letting people know that he could start if need be.

"Every day," pitching coach Bud Black said good naturedly when asked how often Shields offers his services to start.

Shields began as a reliever in the organization, before becoming a starting pitcher and then returning to the bullpen. The right-hander can point to 14 Major League starts, but the Angels like where he is.

"We'd have to figure some way to replace his balance in the bullpen," Black said, a situation the Angels are already facing next season when Kelvim Escobar returns to the rotation.

On this date: The Angels were only a strike away from their first World Series appearance on Oct. 12, 1986, and holding a 5-4 lead in the top of the ninth when Donnie Moore gave up a two-run homer to Boston's Dave Henderson in Game 5 of the ALCS.

The Angels would tie the game in the bottom of the ninth on Rob Wilfong's RBI single, but the Red Sox won, 7-6, in 11 innings on Henderson's sac fly to send the series back to Boston, where they eliminated the Angels to advance to the World Series against the Mets.

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