Ackley working to be ready by Opening Day

Angels' non-roster invitee rehabbing right shoulder

Ackley working to be ready by Opening Day

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Dustin Ackley is in Angels camp as a non-roster invitee, still rehabbing the right shoulder he had surgically repaired after injuring it last season with the Yankees.

He's not close to being ready to play in games and has opt-out clauses in his Minor League deal if he doesn't make the team.

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"I'm basically on my own time frame, just trying to get my shoulder ready and make sure I'm healthy, that's the main thing," Ackley said Friday before the Angels worked out at Tempe Diablo Stadium. "I was swinging the bat, but now I've taken a few days off because I felt some tightness in the shoulder. Just let it settle down. It's a day-to-day thing. I'm just trying to ease into it."

Ackley fractured the shoulder diving hard back into first base on a pickoff move May 29 against the Rays at Tropicana Field and missed the remainder of the season. He had surgery a few days later to pin the shoulder blade back in place and repair the labrum.

Ackley, 28, and a veteran of six seasons, last year played the outfield, second base and mostly first base for the Yankees in lieu of an injured and now retired Mark Teixeira. Ackley, the No. 2 overall pick by the Mariners in the 2009 MLB Draft after the Nationals selected Stephen Strasburg, was just starting to hit his stride in New York when he hurt the shoulder.

"It was a tough year, just getting hurt," he said. "It was a freak incident. I don't think anybody can prepare for that. It was unfortunate. I felt like I was on the right path and it takes it out from under you. But now I feel like I'm coming back from this injury and preparing the way I need to prepare. Hopefully, I'm ready to go when the season rolls around."

Like many players who leave the Yanks and their no-facial-hair policy behind, Ackley is sporting a full, brown beard.

"I'm comfortable like this," he said. "I hate to shave."

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.