Notes: Past feud is present
Colon's shoulder pain subsiding, set to throw bullpen session
CHICAGO -- The story that everyone says is dead won't quite go away.
With Kelvim Escobar starting for the Angels on Thursday, the subject immediately turned to the simmering controversy created by a pair of pivotal plays in last October's ALCS and more recently when White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski was hit in the leg by an Escobar fastball.
Escobar insists the pitch in the April 29 game was not intentional, and that the two plays in the postseason series against the White Sox when Pierzynski took first on the dropped third strike by Josh Paul in Game 2 or when he tagged Pierzynski with a empty glove in Game 5 are history.
But his argument has not been persuasive for some, especially Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, who believes Escobar hit Pierzynski on purpose and that he acted alone.
A simple difference of opinion became personal, though, when Escobar took exception to comments Guillen made last month in Anaheim. The day after he hit Pierzynski, Escobar said he would talk to Guillen to clear the air but has since changed his mind.
"I'm not talking to anybody. After what they said in the papers, I don't like it. I don't think that was the right way to talk about someone. I understand. I know making excuses. I already had my say," Escobar said. "I didn't do it on purpose. I know Ozzie didn't believe [it]. I didn't like what he said. He called me stupid; he said I wasn't too smart. I don't have to talk to anybody that way."
Guillen insisted the issue is in the past but will not seek out Escobar.
"You want to talk to me, fine. You don't want to talk to me, fine. I have a lot of people to talk to," Guillen said. "Everything in baseball goes around. It wasn't A.J.'s fault what happened. That is part of the game and that is something you have to deal with. The thing I said is, he has to look in the mirror."
Moving along: Bartolo Colon will pitch from the mound for the first time in about a month when he throws a bullpen session at home on Friday.
The right-hander, whose last start was April 15 in Baltimore, has been on the disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder. The most recent setback was a carry-over from the tear Colon suffered in his same shoulder last October. He said he's confident that once he takes the mound, his return to the rotation will follow quickly thereafter.
"It has been a gradual going away," Colon said. "The pain in the back of my shoulder in particular has disappeared. Just not having the pain in the back of my shoulder has been great."
Colon has been able to pitch through pain in his career but said the most recent injury scared him. He was unable to gain full confidence during the spring or during his first starts in the regular season that he was fully recovered.
When he was placed on the DL, he initially thought he would be out two starts but the shoulder responded more slowly to treatment than he had hoped so he didn't try and go faster than what his program called for.
"Once I get on the mound that is the biggest test," Colon said. "I have been throwing long toss and doing drills at shortstop and I feel I can get on the mound and throw freely."
Twice last season Colon was slowed by lower back pain, once in spring and again in late August. Concerned that he injured his shoulder as compensation for his back, Colon has been receiving therapy on both areas to avoid future setbacks.
Though Colon pitched for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic this spring, he said that did not have any impact on his injury. He said the toughest thing now is not being able to help the club.
"The only frustration has been seeing us lose games and know that I can't do anything about it," Colon said.
On the farm: Jeff Mathis went 2-for-4 with two doubles in Triple-A Salt Lake's 5-2 win over Omaha on Tuesday. ... Class A Cedar Rapids right-hander Nick Adenhart (5-0) tossed seven scoreless innings in the Kernels' 9-0 win over Dayton.
On deck: The Angels will conclude their three-game series against the White Sox on Thursday at 5:05 p.m. PT. Escobar will face Chicago right-hander Jon Garland. Right-hander John Lackey will start against the Seattle in Anaheim on Friday.
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.