Haren close; Iannetta, Wells starting rehab stints

Haren close; Iannetta, Wells starting rehab stints

Haren close; Iannetta, Wells starting rehab stints
ANAHEIM -- Three injured Angels, two of whom have been out for an extended time, are very close to returning to the roster.

Starter Dan Haren, who has been out only since July 4 with lower back stiffness, threw a bullpen session on Friday, and as long as he comes out of it without any problems, will start on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia said.

Haren (6-8) gave up no less than four runs in five straight starts before landing on the disabled list (26 runs in 27 innings), raising his ERA from 3.52 to 4.86.

Though Haren's velocity has been down a mile or two since last year, Scioscia said it isn't a problem for the right-hander. His fastball being around 89-90 is fine to complement his off-speed stuff. It's just that his back was throwing off his control.

"At times he's shown that velocity with us, but he's had to create a little more because of the back stiffness that threw his command off," Scioscia said. "And to create more velocity, at times that ball's going to get elevated. So Dan needs that easy velocity, where it's in your delivery and you're just executing your pitch."

Injured Angels who have been out for a much longer period, catcher Chris Iannetta and outfielder Vernon Wells, will be starting rehab assignments at Triple-A Salt Lake this weekend.

Iannetta, who has been on the DL since May 10 while recovering from wrist surgery, is going to start his rehab on Saturday. He was close to a rehab assignment a few weeks ago after his wrist healed, but had problems with his forearm that caused the delay. The catcher will be in the Minors for "the better part of a week," Scioscia said.

Wells, who has been out since May 21 with a broken right thumb, made his first rehab appearance on Friday night. He started in left field, batted second and went 1-for-3 with a double.

The Angels estimated that it would take about seven to 10 days in the Minors for him to be ready.

"There's no doubt that there's going to be a little stiffness in the first couple days that he's going to have to work through after being out for so long," Scioscia said. "Then we'll evaluate him and see where he is next week."

The 33-year-old Wells will be coming back to an outfield that includes two All-Stars in Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo, as well as Torii Hunter, who is hitting .310 with five homers and 24 RBIs in his last 33 games.