Angels’ Ryan Madson in good spirits after MRI comes back negative.

Ryan Madson

An MRI Tuesday on Ryan Madson’s right elbow came back negative, but the man the Angels hoped to be their opening-day closer won’t be their closer on opening day.

That’s the way it appears for now, at least. Madson, who missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, is still dealing with soreness in the elbow. Opening day is April 1 in Cincinnati and there’s no target date for Madson’s return.

In a way, he sees that as a relief.

“Now, yes, especially because that’s what I was going towards,” he said. “Maybe it got me into a little bit of trouble. Now I don’t have a set date in mind. I want to let my arm guide me. The trainers are good in there, already did a lot of good work this morning. It feels good.”

Madson won’t be throwing while on a strengthening program for the next week. He’ll be re-evaluated then.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia said the MRI results show the injury is “definitely manageable.” But without Madson anchoring the ninth inning, it remains to be seen how the bullpen roles will sort out on April 1.

“I think our bullpen depth is improved with or without Ryan,” Scioscia said. “I think that if you look at (Sean) Burnett, you look at the evolution of (Kevin) Jepsen, you look at (Scott) Downs, you look at (Ernesto) Frieri, there’s depth there. Ryan’s a guy that can solidify some roles down there and we look forward to that. I think from Day 1 we should in a position to be able to hold leads better than we did last year. We expect Ryan to eventually be a part of that.”

Madson said he can’t wait, though he knows he’ll have to.

“I want to let fans know that I’m eager to get out there, and that’s kind of what got me in trouble in the first place,” he said. “It’s not like I’m sitting around nursing it, I want to get out there as soon as I can. Every game matters to me.”

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.