Burnett throws off the mound (kind of) …

Sean BurnettSean Burnett stood on a bullpen mound on Sunday and fired 30 fastballs to a catcher in a crouched position, but it wasn’t his first bullpen session, per se.

“It looks like a bullpen,” Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher said, “but it’s not a bullpen. … He’s still building into a bullpen.”

But the fact he executed it well, and felt good the next day, was nonetheless the latest, most positive step in Burnett’s recovery from August forearm surgery. Burnett, who played light catch on Monday morning, was expected to throw off the 10-foot-wide rehab slope that sits behind the bullpen mound on Sunday, but instead threw fastballs off the rubber and called it “a really good bullpen for being seven months [away from] the mound.”

Simply throwing at a downhill angle was something he wasn’t able to do last season, while making only 13 appearances and never quite getting healthy.

“I felt good,” Burnett said. “Obviously there was some fatigue towards the end. The big thing was to come in today and see how it was going to feel, and I feel pretty good. … I feel loose, I don’t feel like there’s anything restricting. I feel normal soreness. Everything was positive, and hopefully we’ll do it again here in a couple days.”

Mike Scioscia said throwing a full-fledged bullpen is “the next progression.” The Angels’ manager estimated on Thursday that it would be “a week to 10 days” before Burnett throws what’s considered a traditional bullpen session, which would make a return by Opening Day questionable, and that timeline doesn’t appear to have changed.

Burnett, 31, has thrown all his pitches on flat ground and, most importantly, has felt good every step of the way.

“They’re going to make the decision,” Burnett said of being ready by Opening Day on March 31. “My job is to be ready and to try to make it a tough decision for them. At the same time, I’m conservative enough to know that it’s my body; don’t push it too much. Yesterday was positive. Didn’t push it too much, but I got good results out of it. Obviously there was a little bit of fatigue at the end, but that’s normal.”

Here are some other notes from Angels camp today …

  • Josh Hamilton (strained left calf) was planning on doing straight-line sprints on the field Monday morning, one day after doing agility drills. He could play as early as Thursday, when the Angels host the White Sox at Tempe Diablo Stadium, but doesn’t want to put a precise timeframe on his return. If he gets back by the end of the week, Hamilton says he should have enough time to get the 45 to 55 at-bats he typically likes to get to be ready for the regular season.
  • Former Angels starter Jim Abbott (47 wins and a 3.49 ERA from 1989-92) is in camp this week as a special guest instructor.
  • Albert Pujols has the day off today after playing in three games in a row (he served as the designated hitter against the Reds on Sunday). Pujols wants to play in segments of three in a row from now until Opening Day.
  • The Angels cut five additional players on Monday: Michael Roth, Jarrett Grube, Michael Morin, Mark Sappington and Justin Thomas. Roth, the only one on the 40-man roster, was optioned to Triple-A; the rest were reassigned to Minor League camp.
  • Jered Weaver is slated to throw five innings and 70 to 75 pitches in his third spring start. Scioscia declined to say when asked who his Opening Day starter is, but, um, yeah, it’s Weaver.
  • Dane De La Rosa, who exited Thursday’s game because of a forearm strain, still doesn’t have a timeline for when he’ll pick up a baseball.



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