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De La Rosa practicing patience in return to Angels

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CLEVELAND -- Dane De La Rosa is back in the Majors, but is he close to being the guy from last year?

"Which guy?" the Angels' veteran reliever asked.

The guy who was good enough to appear in a team-leading 75 games, posting a 2.86 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP while throwing his fastball in the mid-90s.

"I'll just say I feel good," De La Rosa said. "I'm not going to go off last year. I feel good now. Hopefully by just getting innings and throwing more, I'll start getting a little stronger."

De La Rosa was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, made his second appearance of the season in the eighth inning -- also his first appearance since his velocity was way down on April 12 -- and gave up a run on two hits and a walk.

The 31-year-old right-hander, who strained a forearm in Spring Training and dealt with irritation in his right s/c joint for half of April and all of May, was at about 94 mph with his fastball last year, then watched it gradually climb to about 96. His fastball was only 88 during his regular-season debut in April, and it was 90 mph on Sunday.

But De La Rosa isn't worried about his velocity at this point, saying he's "three months behind" due to the time he's missed with a couple of ailments.

"I feel good," said De La Rosa, who was called up when shoulder inflammation sent fellow reliever Fernando Salas to the disabled list. "There's still some fine-tuning I still have to do, but I'm throwing strikes and I'm feeling much better."

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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