Downs, Walden progressing toward return

Downs, Walden progressing toward return

Downs, Walden progressing toward return
ANAHEIM -- Angels relievers Scott Downs and Jordan Walden took recent steps in their return from injuries -- one went forward, the other went backward.

On Sunday morning, Downs threw off a mound for the first time since landing on the disabled list with a strained left shoulder on July 31, a progression that could have him rejoin the bullpen at some point next week.

"It's definitely an important first step," said manager Mike Scioscia, who believes the veteran left-hander may be able to skip a rehab assignment.

"It's only his first 'pen, so he's going to have to get some bullpens under his feet. We'll take it one step at a time and then we'll be able to evaluate him better."

On Saturday night, Walden, out since July 8 with injuries to his neck and right biceps, got hit around in his first rehab appearance for Triple-A Salt Lake, giving up four runs (two earned) on three hits in two-thirds of an inning.

Scioscia said Walden's velocity was "about mid-range -- 93, 95 [mph] -- but there's other things he was working on getting out of the chute that are more important than him throwing 98 right now."

He'll pitch again Monday and the Angels will map out the rest of his rehab schedule off that.

"I think physically he felt good, as far as his health," Scioscia added. "Trying to work himself back into his delivery and just getting back out there in a game is obviously something he needs a little bit of work on, and that's why you need those rehab games."