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Return of Escobar imminent for Halos

Return of Escobar imminent for Halos

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TORONTO -- Angels starter Kelvim Escobar has successfully completed his Minor League rehab stint and is set to rejoin the club in Toronto at some point on Tuesday, according to manager Mike Scioscia.

Escobar, who underwent right shoulder surgery last year, has not pitched in the big leagues since 2007. He made his third rehab start on Monday with Triple-A Salt Lake and the results were good enough to convince the Angels that the right-hander was ready to make his return.

"His velocity was good," Scioscia said. "He had all of his pitches working. His command was maybe not as crisp as the [previous rehab start] but everything looked good with him."

Escobar allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits across five innings. He walked two, struck out one and needed 87 pitches in the outing.

Scioscia was more concerned about how Escobar felt than his pitching line. The skipper was impressed that Escobar was able to maintain his velocity, which hit 93-94 mph, throughout the outing.

"His arm speed was there," said Scioscia. "So I think of all the things we are going to evaluate him on, most of them are positive. He gave up some runs but everything else looked good, so we're very comfortable that he's back now and that he can maintain his pitch count deep enough to where we can bring him into a Major League game."

The plan now is to have the 33-year-old starter throw a bullpen session on Wednesday and if that goes well, Escobar will be activated off the disabled list to start Saturday's game against Detroit.

Scioscia also confirmed that there are no current questions about Escobar pitching out of the bullpen.

"He was going to be in our bullpen if he didn't show the stamina to go out there and start," said the manager. "When Kelvim's right, he's one of the most dynamic pitchers in baseball and certainly a guy we would want in our rotation."

Escobar was dominant out of the rotation in 2007, when he went 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA.

With Escobar's return nearing, there has been speculation about what to do with Angels No. 5 starter Matt Palmer. Los Angeles is reluctant to go to a six-man rotation, which could mean there would be no place on the team for Palmer, who has started the season 5-0. Scioscia, though, says that is not the case.

"I think there's a role for him in our bullpen," said Scioscia. "He's been throwing the ball very well and I think there's a role for him to help us."

Meanwhile, Palmer is expected to throw a bullpen session on Tuesday and will prepare as if he were to start Saturday's contest, should Escobar not be ready to go that day.

David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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