Notes: McPherson makes visit to camp

Notes: McPherson makes a visit to camp

TEMPE, Ariz -- A familiar form cut through the Angels clubhouse on the first day of workouts Tuesday, but he wasn't putting on a uniform or looking for his name on the batting practice schedule.

Still, Dallas McPherson was glad to be there.

"It's important. Important to me, mentally," McPherson said. "No. 1, I get out of the house. Anytime I can get out of the house, find something to do, kill a few hours, it helps the mental aspect of it. Getting here and at least in a baseball atmosphere, it's good for me mentally, if nothing else."

McPherson is in the early phase of his recovery from back surgery that fused two vertebrae in his lower back. The condition essentially derailed his development as the team's third baseman of the future, and after seeing two seasons interrupted by the constant pain of a herniated disk, he opted for surgery in January after an offseason rehab program did not produce the desired results.

"It was disappointing. I can't say that I wasn't thinking it was going to work completely, rehabbing, I had my skepticism about it. It's frustrating," said McPherson, who hit .261 with seven homers in 40 games with the Angels last season. "I rehabbed for three months, did everything I could, and couldn't get stronger in the core. So it's basically my last option, get it done and get back on the field."

McPherson is about four weeks into the initial healing phase, which takes about 8-12 weeks. From there he'll progress to a core strengthening program before resuming baseball activities. The whole process is slated to take a minimum of six months.

He is following a similar program of Dallas Cowboys tight end Anthony Fasano and others and is encouraged by their results. For now, McPherson is walking about two miles and playing video games to keep his mind off the fact he's not on the field. He also had to train himself to sleep on his side or back but is tackling the situation on a daily basis.

"I have to wait for the fusion to heal," McPherson said. "If that's 12 weeks, 15 weeks, whatever it is, that's the No. 1 priority right now and then it depends on how quickly things turn around from there. I don't know. I kind of have to go on how I feel right now, instead of per week."

Held back: Jered Weaver and Bartolo Colon were among a group of pitchers who participated in fielding drills Tuesday but did not throw. Tommy Mendoza and Steven Shell were the others.

Both Weaver and Colon are scheduled to play long toss again Wednesday from about 110-120 feet, and Scioscia said Colon could be on a mound by mid-March.

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"As he gets out there about 160-170 feet [playing] long toss and then shortens it up on flat ground and feels his arm speed, he'll be ready to get off a mound," Scioscia said. "But that is probably still about a three-week window before you have to decide. He's making progress."

Injury in camp: Brent Del Chiaro broke the tip of his middle finger on his right hand during catching drills on plays at the plate Monday. Del Chiaro, who was projected to open the year at Triple-A, will be reexamined Tuesday and is expected to miss eight weeks.

New voice: The Angels agreed to terms on a 2007 contract on Tuesday with Amaury Pi-Gonzalez as the club's Spanish language radio play-by-play announcer.

Gonzalez will team with Jose Mota to form the Angels' Spanish radio broadcast team on AM 830 and replace Ivan Lara, who did not have his contract renewed.

A native of Cuba, Pi-Gonzalez was inducted into the Cuban Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 8, 2004, in Sports Broadcasting. He most recently worked on Mariners and Giants broadcast teams.

Nice glove: Gary Matthews Jr. took part in his first workout with the Angels on Tuesday, and his new teammates are excited to see him take residence in center field.

"That's huge. We have two big gap holes in Angel Stadium, and I think he is a guy that will cover all that ground, so he is important for us," shortstop Orlando Cabrera said. "He has a strong arm. It's huge for us because now we know we have a center fielder the whole time, every day. We don't have to worry about that stuff."

Mike Scarr is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.