On Saturday night, the right-hander makes his first start since undergoing shoulder surgery as the Angels try for a fourth straight victory in the continuation of a three-game set against Edwin Jackson(notes) and the struggling Tigers at Comerica Park.
Escobar went a career-best 18-7 with a 3.40 ERA in 30 starts for the Angels in 2007, but underwent season-ending surgery after suffering a torn labrum in late March 2008.
After a lengthy recovery, Escobar will pitch in the majors for the first time since losing to Boston in Game 2 of the AL division series on Oct. 5, 2007.
“I think of all the things we are going to evaluate him on, most of them are positive,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site of Escobar, who posted a 2.30 ERA in 15 2-3 innings over three rehab starts. “We’re very comfortable that he’s back now.”
Escobar has dominated the Tigers in his career, going 7-0 with a 2.85 ERA in nine starts. Despite having lost a season high four in a row after falling 2-1 to the Angels on Friday, AL Central-leading Detroit (28-25) has a good chance to end that skid with Jackson on the mound.
The right-hander, who won a career-high 14 games for Tampa Bay last season but was traded to Detroit in December, allowed two hits while striking out seven in eight innings of a 3-0 win at Baltimore on Sunday.
Jackson is 4-1 with a 1.49 ERA in his last five starts.
Jackson’s worst outing of the year, however, came against the Angels when he allowed six runs - three earned - and nine hits in five innings of a 10-5 road loss on April 23. He is 1-3 with a 5.92 ERA in five starts versus Los Angeles.
Hunter is 8 for 16 against the Tigers this season, and 3 for 8 with two homers and four RBIs versus Jackson in his career.
“We’re just not doing much with the bats,” manager Jim Leyland said. “I don’t know. We just can’t seem to put an inning together.”
Ordonez is batting .353 (6 for 17) with three RBIs versus Los Angeles this season, and .417 (10 for 24) against Escobar.
Miguel Cabrera(notes) walked as a pinch-hitter Friday, one day after he left a 6-3 loss to Boston with a left hamstring injury. It’s uncertain if Cabrera, batting .354, will be in the lineup for this contest.