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Madson hopes to join Angels' bullpen next week


HOUSTON -- Can Ryan Madson join the Angels' bullpen by the end of next week? That's the hope he expressed on Tuesday after an encouraging, aggressive, 20-pitch bullpen session off the Minute Maid Park mound.

It'll all depend on how he feels on Wednesday, and how his surgically repaired elbow reacts to facing hitters a second time around. But Madson is slated to pitch in extended spring training in Arizona later this week, and the 32-year-old right-hander wants to deploy a "super aggressive approach" that will have him facing hitters every other day.

The tentative plan, as relayed by Madson himself: Face hitters in Arizona on Thursday and Saturday, pitch in a Minor League game on Monday, then see how he feels. If he needs another outing, which he most likely will, he'll pitch on the following Wednesday. If not, he'll go straight to the big leagues.

Now, Madson has felt similarly close before. He felt really good after an April 16 bullpen in Minnesota, but when he faced hitters in a simulated game at Angel Stadium three days later, Madson experienced elbow tightness that kept him off the mound for two weeks.

Asked if there are any signs that it'll be different this time, Madson said: "There's more intensity being applied now than what was being applied then, as far as the hips and more thrust going through. And mechanically I'm a lot better now than I was even two weeks ago. That's helped, so that should take a lot of pressure off. I'm using my hips, using my legs a lot more; and just getting strength has helped me."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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