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De La Rosa expects to be ready by Opening Day

De La Rosa expects to be ready by Opening Day

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa hasn't appeared in a game since he strained his right forearm during his second outing of the spring on March 6. But he was cleared to restart his throwing program on Sunday, plans to throw his first bullpen session on Friday and expects to be in regular-season form by Opening Day -- even though that's only 11 days away.

"I've been pitching my whole life," De La Rosa said, smiling. "Why not?"

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Short-inning relievers like De La Rosa don't typically need much time to get ready for the season, and De La Rosa could jump back into Spring Training games after one or two bullpen sessions. But the Angels won't rush the 31-year-old right-hander, who's expected to be a key reliever behind closer Ernesto Frieri and their two setup men, Joe Smith and Sean Burnett.

The Angels can backdate their disabled-list stints as far as March 21, so De La Rosa and Burnett -- in the late stages of his return from August forearm surgery -- can be activated as soon as April 5 if they start the season on the DL.

"We're certainly going to err on the side of caution," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "If it takes him an extra five, six, seven days to get him where he needs to be, so be it. I think what you have to guard against is using Opening Day as a guideline for when guys need to be ready."

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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