Escobar out with mild abdominal strain

Escobar out with mild abdominal strain

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Third baseman Yunel Escobar was scratched from the Angels' 9-3 win over the Rockies on Saturday with a mild abdominal strain.

Manager Mike Scioscia said Escobar felt some discomfort after throwing and will be evaluated again Sunday.

"He's OK, he just felt a little tightness up in his rib area today," Scioscia said. "He wanted to play, but it was a precautionary scratch."

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Escobar, 34, batted .304 in 132 games for the Angels in 2016, and is expected to once again be the club's leadoff hitter this season. Jefry Marte started at third in place of Escobar against the Rockies and went hitless in two at-bats.

Worth noting

• Left fielder Cameron Maybin, who missed four games while attending his grandfather's funeral earlier this week, returned to the Angels lineup Saturday and finished 2-for-3 with a double to right field, a stolen base and a run scored, snapping his 0-for-20 start to the spring.

Maybin steals third

"I really liked the two-strike hit he got to right field because that's what he did all of last year," Scioscia said. "He used the whole field, and that's the swing he's got to acquire in the next 25-30 at-bats here in the spring. He'll get it. He'll be ready."

• Right-hander Ricky Nolasco yielded three runs on seven hits while walking one and striking out four over five innings in a Minor League start against the Rockies on Saturday. The Angels are having many of their top starters pitch in Minor League games to elevate their pitch counts in more controlled settings.

• Scioscia said he expects Venezuelan relievers Jose Alvarez and Deolis Guerra to return to Arizona on Sunday, though they might not work out with the Angels until Monday. Alvarez and Guerra have been pitching in the World Baseball Classic, but Venezuela was eliminated from the tournament Friday and played its final game Saturday a 13-2 loss to Puerto Rico in San Diego.

• The Angels optioned right-hander Keynan Middleton to Triple-A Salt Lake on Friday and now have 51 active players in Major League camp. Middleton, ranked the Angels' No. 5 prospect by, allowed six runs over seven innings in seven Cactus League outings this spring.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.