Escobar now 'questionable' to rejoin Angels

Third baseman limited to BP while rehabbing oblique strain

Escobar now 'questionable' to rejoin Angels

CHICAGO -- Third baseman Yunel Escobar had been expected to play in an instructional league game in Arizona on Wednesday, but the Angels determined he had not made sufficient progress in his rehab from a strained oblique, limiting him to live batting practice.

The Angels had hoped to have Escobar play in two games before potentially rejoining the club in Anaheim for the final weekend of the regular season, but manager Mike Scioscia said the 34-year-old infielder's return is now "questionable."

Escobar, who has been out since Aug. 8, was batting .274 with .730 OPS, seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 89 games. He is set to be a free agent at the end of the season.

Angels still have high hopes for Perez
When the Angels arrived to Spring Training, it seemed likely that Martin Maldonado and Carlos Perez would end up splitting time behind the plate during the regular season. But Maldonado impressed with his defense and eventually seized the starting job, prompting the Angels to option Perez to Triple-A Salt Lake and install Juan Graterol as their backup catcher in April.

Despite hitting .352 with a .925 OPS in 68 games at Triple-A, Perez did not return to the Majors until rosters expanded in September and has logged only four plate appearances since then. Scioscia said he believes Perez still has the potential to be a Major League catcher, particularly if he improves his defensive skills.

"There's a growth, particularly from the game-management and game-plan department that every catcher goes through," Scioscia said. "He did catch well down the stretch in 2015, but he hasn't quite taken the next step to do the things you see Martin doing and some other catchers. He's growing in that area. We still obviously see the potential, and hopefully he's going to reach that potential because he has some really nice tools."

Worth noting
• The Angels entered Wednesday night's game without announcing a starter for Thursday's series finale against the White Sox. Scioscia said the club is deciding whether to go with left-hander Andrew Heaney, who threw a bullpen session at Guaranteed Rate Field on Tuesday, or reliever Bud Norris.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.