If Erick Aybar's stay at Triple-A Salt Lake is a short one, he's already made the most of it.
The shortstop homered, doubled and drove in two runs as part of a 2-for-4 showing Monday night in his first rehab start during the Bees' 12-6 loss to Colorado Springs at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
After lining out in his first at-bat, Aybar hit a two-run homer from the left side of the box off Sky Sox right-hander Jeff Manship in the third inning. He added the two-bagger from the right side in the seventh, showing no ill effects of the bruised left heel that has kept him sidelined since April 9. That double came after he turned a nifty double play, which caused him to jump over a charging Hernan Iribarren at second, to close the top of the frame.
Although the results were certainly there Monday, they weren't the biggest concern of Salt Lake manager Keith Johnson.
"The No. 1 thing for me tonight, the No. 1 matter of importance is his health," he said. "We just want get him through tonight as healthy as possible. It was nice to see him have that timing at the plate, and with that homer, have that timing so early as well. But the ultimate thing for us is to get him back up there with the big club healthy and as quickly as possible."
The biggest indicator of Aybar's health may have come on the double. While Aybar's heel withstood the jaunt to second, it was the hitting action that inspired the most confidence in Johnson.
"There was the question mark of him hitting from the right side of the plate," he said. "So it was especially nice to see get around on one and really pull it past the third baseman."
Just how quickly Aybar will return is still unclear, however. Aybar was eligible to return from the disabled list last Thursday but spent time in Arizona playing extended spring training contests. Angels manager Mike Scioscia told reporters that the Angels would look to get their shortstop another game or two after his time in Tempe, but Johnson couldn't quite say if Monday filled that requirement.
"I'm sure the powers that be will tell me when they have an idea," said the skipper. "He has an idea of what he needs to do exactly to get ready. He's a veteran guy who knows his body, so the decision's up to him if he's ready. I'm sure we'll find out at some point soon."
The Angels have leaned on Brendan Harris, who is batting .273 with a homer, three doubles and four RBIs in 17 games this season, at shortstop in Aybar's stead. The team stands at 9-15, 6 ½ games behind first-place Texas in the AL West.
Kip Wells took the brunt of the damage in the Bees' loss Monday, allowing seven runs on nine hits over just two innings in his Salt Lake debut.
Colorado Springs center fielder Charlie Blackmon delivered a homer, a double, two walks and three RBIs. Shortstop DJ LeMahieu also drove in three and added in two triples in the 12-run effort and Iribarren went 5-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.