Ryan Madson has basically been “two weeks” away from returning since February, but setbacks with his surgically repaired elbow have reset his timetable multiple times.
He’s once again making progress, throwing a 40-pitch bullpen session Tuesday “with conviction, with extension, and without one bit of pain.” Seriously, that’s the quote he gave to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
DiGiovanna reports that Madson will throw again Friday and, barring another setback, is now aiming to join the Angels’ bullpen by May 1. If/when he does return it won’t be in the closer role, which was the Angels’ plan for Madson initially after signing him. That job is now Ernesto Frieri’s until either he falters or Madson forces his way into the picture by actually pitching well.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)