Walden, Downs take small steps toward return

Walden, Downs take small steps toward return

Walden, Downs take small steps toward return
OAKLAND -- The two Angels relievers on the 15-day disabled list both took steps forward in their rehab on Monday.

Right-hander Jordan Walden, who had been long tossing, threw his first bullpen session since landing on the DL on July 15 with a strained right biceps and neck soreness.

"He feels very strong," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Had a terrific 'pen. He'll have to repeat it on Wednesday, and then we'll make the determination on if he's ready to go out there and pitch."

Scioscia said that Walden would probably have to make at least two rehab appearances, but just how much time he'd have to spend on a rehab stint would depend on how he responds after each outing.

Scott Downs is in a different situation, much further behind than Walden. The left-hander began throwing from flat ground on Monday for the first time since going on the DL with a left shoulder strain nine days ago.

Both pitchers' returns are still a ways off, especially Downs', but they can't come soon enough. The team's bullpen is in rough shape because of both their absences and overuse in the last few games.

That's shown in the relievers' performance during the current road trip. In seven games so far, the bullpen has given up 23 earned runs in 21 1/3 innings.