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.
"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."