MINNEAPOLIS -- Joel Pineiro has been smiling the past few days. His recovery from a strained left oblique, expected to keep him out for 6-8 weeks, has been swifter than anticipated. He was injured warming up before a July 28 start at home against Boston.
"It's been only three weeks," Pineiro said, "and I'm already throwing -- and feeling good. That's a great sign." He nodded and grinned when it was suggested that his intense commitment to conditioning is paying off in his quick return.
"Pineiro had a flat-ground session, and actually he's very encouraged," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said on Saturday. "He got out to 125 feet and came in on flat ground and spun some curveballs. I think we're all very encouraged where we are now. If his progress is steady, we're optimistic."
Scioscia, however, wouldn't commit to any timetables for Pineiro's return this season -- something that seemed doubtful on July 28.
Pineiro has been a rock of stability in his first season with the Angels, delivering 131 1/3 innings in 20 starts, going 10-7 with a 4.18 ERA.