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Baylor hoping to return to team within six weeks

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HOUSTON -- Don Baylor was getting wheeled into the operating room last Tuesday afternoon, about to undergo the five-hour surgery that would repair a broken right femur, and already the Angels' hitting coach was bargaining for a shorter recovery time. He has a follow-up doctor's appointment on Tuesday, and his quest will continue.

"His timeline and my timeline are two different things," Baylor said on a conference call after the Angels' 9-1 win over the Astros on Monday, "but I'm going to listen to the doctor."

The doctor's timeline: Six weeks until Baylor can put weight on his right side, which would allow the 64-year-old to move a little bit more freely and perhaps lead to him being with the team at home.

Baylor's timeline?

"I said maybe four."

"But I won't know until the doctor signs off on my rehab and things like that," Baylor cautioned. "I just have to kind of see how that goes. I wish I could give you the date, but I don't know just yet."

Baylor was discharged from UCI Medical Center late Friday afternoon and has been resting comfortably in his home in La Quinta, Calif., ever since, using a walker if he has to get around.

"I'm working on my upper body," Baylor said, laughing.

"I haven't had a lot of pain, really," he added. "A little discomfort maybe last night, but the medication took care of that."

Baylor's injury, common among skiers, was sustained right before Opening Day on March 31, while catching the ceremonial first pitch thrown by Vladimir Guerrero, when Baylor shifted all of his weight to the right side and couldn't get up on his own. He doesn't believe a previous bout with multiple myeloma, a cancer that attacks plasma cells in the bone marrow, was the cause.

"I'm trying to relive it in my mind," Baylor said. "I don't want to watch the replay, that's for sure. I felt like I just got drilled by a Nolan Ryan fastball. Just the impact that it felt when you try to stand up and it won't let you stand up. I've never had a dislocation or anything that hurt on the field like that. So it was pretty much a shock. You can't feel your leg and it's moving all over the place. You think it's a dislocation. I never thought it was a break, but that's what it was. We'll get through it, get through the rehab and get back on the field."

Baylor thanked UCI Medical Center for a "pretty wonderful" experience, called all the outside support -- from Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to former teammate Bobby Grich to Ryan himself -- "uplifting" and said "the Angels fans and family have really been unbelievable."

"I knew I had a lot of friends in baseball," Baylor said, "but I didn't know I had that many."

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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