Madson dealing with elbow soreness

Angels manager Mike Scioscia was not surprised closer Ryan
Madson had elbow soreness in his rehabilitation from reconstructive
surgery.

Madson, the team’s free-agent acquisition, who hasn’t pitched
since 2011 said that he suffered a setback while throwing on Feb.
1.

Scioscia called the pain flare-up a part of the ”normal rehab
process” and that he expects Madsen to be pitching ”at some point
in April.”

”I think first and foremost (of importance) is Ryan getting
through his rehab,” Scioscia said. ”He’s obviously at the last
stages of his rehab to where he’s on the mound throwing.

”Some days he’s going to move ahead. Sometimes rehabbing is up
and down. We expect him at some point in April. … He’s a guy that
obviously is important to us. We have to error on the side of
caution.”

Madson, who signed a one-year incentive-laden contract with the
Angels, said he was disappointed, but expected to be ready by the
season opener on April 1 in Cincinnati.

Madson, who had 32 saves for Philadelphia in 2011, also said
that he has not thrown since the Feb. 1 session.

The right-hander is expected to lead a bullpen that struggled
last season with an American League high-23 blown saves, a key
reason the Angels did not make the playoffs.

On the offensive side, Scioscia expects outfielder Josh Hamilton
to hit cleanup in his lineup with Albert Pujols third and last
season’s American Rookie of the Year Mike Trout to hit leadoff. He
hinted that designated hitter Mark Trumbo would likely hit fifth to
start the season.

Scioscia said Trout could become a middle-of-the order hitter
with the Angels and that even though center field is his best and
favorite outfield position, he’ll hit leadoff and play left field
this season.

”When you have a leadoff hitter like Mike who has the ability
to drive in 100 runs and can score 100 runs, you want to make sure
that you set the table for him,” Scioscia said. ”He’s definitely
going to start as our leadoff hitter.”

After a spring training in which he missed time with the flu and
dropped at least 10 pounds, Trout opened the season in the minors
as the Angels had a glut of outfielders.

He returned to the big club in late April and electrified the
Angels’ sluggish outfield, finishing with 30 homers, 83 RBIs, a
.326 average and was second in the American League Most Valuable
Player voting.

Scioscia said the team’s outfield has four center fielders, with
speedy Peter Bourjos starting and Trout and Hamilton and reserve
Vernon Wells, as the reason Trout will be in left field.

”His special talent is to play center field and to build a team
around him,” Scioscia said. ”As our deck has evolved, you have
the opportunity to have four center fielders out there. Mike will
play some center field but he’ll play a lot of left field,
too.”