Giavotella pleased with progress

Giavotella pleased with progress

ANAHEIM -- Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella, three weeks into his recovery from fourth nerve palsy, cleanly fielded 20 or so ground balls from player-information coach Keith Johnson early Saturday afternoon and said his eye condition is "95-percent better from where I started."

Giavotella will see a specialist in Pasadena, Calif., on Monday, while the team starts a three-game series in Seattle.

He hopes to take batting practice shortly thereafter.

"We're definitely moving in the right direction," Giavotella said. "We're close to coming back and feeling normal. I just have to wait a little bit longer until I'm 100 percent. At that point, the doctor will clear me and I'll be able to take batting practice and get ready to start playing games."

Fourth nerve palsy (also called superior oblique palsy) causes weakness or paralysis to the superior oblique muscle, prompting misalignment of the eyes. The condition initially gave Giavotella issues looking downward and to his left, but he can see perfectly fine looking down now and only has a slight issue fielding grounders to his backhand.

"That should resolve itself fairly quickly," Giavotella said. "I'm light years away from when it first happened."

Giavotella, 28, was batting .265/.312/.350 before being diagnosed with the condition. In his place, rookie Taylor Featherston has taken over as the everyday second baseman, batting .276 since getting everyday at-bats at the start of September.

Giavotella still has no timeline for his return, but he'll probably need to see some live pitching before getting activated off the disabled list.

"I want to jump in there as quick as possible," he said, "whether it's pinch-hitting or coming in and playing second base, whatever the case may be."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.