5/30/2013 1:58 A.M. ET
Bourjos on brink of starting rehab assignment
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Peter Bourjos' eventual return from a strained left hamstring finally has some clarity.
The Angels' center fielder -- and for now, that's the position he's expected to return to, regardless of how well Mike Trout has hit since moving back to his original position -- ran the bases for the first time prior to Wednesday's game and manager Mike Scioscia said "there's no doubt" he'll begin playing in Minor League games next week.
"It feels really good," Bourjos said. "Every day it's gotten better, and today is the strongest it's felt and it was obviously the hardest I've pushed it."
Bourjos will take a day off Thursday, then run the bases on back-to-back days Friday and Saturday. If that goes well, the next step will be to venture out on a rehab assignment. Bourjos' injury originally carried an estimated timeline of four to six weeks. Monday marked four weeks, June 10 will mark six weeks -- and Bourjos expects to be back by then.
"I should be back within that time frame," he said. "I don't think it's going to be any longer than six weeks -- unless I have a setback, obviously."
Back from restricted list, Hanson to start Friday
ANAHEIM -- Tommy Hanson's first start since being activated off the restricted list will come during Friday's series opener against the Astros, Angels manager Mike Scioscia confirmed after Wednesday's 4-3 win over the Dodgers.
The Angels will go to a six-man rotation one time through the order, and everyone who follows will get an extra day of rest.
Jerome Williams will start Saturday -- in perhaps his final start before returning to the bullpen -- and will be followed by C.J. Wilson on Sunday, Joe Blanton on Monday and Jered Weaver on Tuesday, six days after he was activated off the disabled list. Jason Vargas will start next Wednesday, leading into the off-day.
Angels designate Lowe to clear room for Weaver
ANAHEIM -- As the corresponding move to clear up a spot for Jered Weaver, who was activated off the disabled list to start Wednesday's game against the Dodgers, the Angels designated veteran reliever Mark Lowe for assignment.
It's a mildly surprising decision, given that Lowe is out of options and a host of others could've been sent down to the Minor Leagues without any threat of cutting into the Angels' pitching depth, including Michael Kohn, Dane De La Rosa and Robert Coello.
In some ways, the move was a sign of how well those less-experienced arms are throwing.
Kohn, less than 14 months removed from Tommy John surgery, has posted a 2.70 ERA and a 1.13 WHIP in 13 1/3 innings; Coello has given up one run while striking out 18 batters and walking only one in 10 1/3 innings; and De La Rosa has already appeared in 25 games, four shy of the Major League lead, despite spending the first week of the season in the Minors.
Lowe, signed to a Minor League deal in late March, still has a live arm, but had given up 12 earned runs in 11 2/3 innings in the Majors and appeared in only four games after returning from a neck strain on May 6.
The Angels will look to trade Lowe before exposing him to waivers. And with Garrett Richards now in the bullpen and Kevin Jepsen back from the DL, the 29-year-old right-hander became the odd man out.
"There are some guys that have really added some depth there, and for us to make a move, at times you've got to pare down some good arms," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Mark has a good arm. I think it's our team and our organization re-establishing some depth. It's a good sign for us."
Hamilton returns to Halos' lineup after back scare
ANAHEIM -- It turns out Josh Hamilton's back spasms, which forced him to be scratched from Tuesday's game, were only a minor scare. Hamilton was back in the Angels' starting lineup on Wednesday, batting fifth and playing right field, one day after his back tightened up on the very last swing of batting practice at Dodger Stadium.
"God, I felt good in BP yesterday, too," said Hamilton, who spent the rest of that night in the trainer's room. "I made a swing and just felt it grab me. I've had it happen before. Same spot. When it happened, I knew exactly what it was and knew that in a few hours it would subside. I'm sore today, feel it a little bit, but it's nothing that's going to keep me out."
Hamilton took some muscle relaxers Tuesday night, then saw a chiropractor on Wednesday morning after he woke up a little tight. Hamilton, with a .222/.283/.399 slash line through his first 51 games, wasn't concerned the back issue would keep him out for a prolonged period of time.
"I figured it'd be a few hours and ease up," he said, "and it's eased up for the most part."
• Prior to Wednesday's game, the Angels held a moment of silence for Dr. Lewis Yocum, the longtime team orthopedist and heralded orthopedic surgeon who passed away due to cancer at age 65 on Saturday. Later this season, the Angels are expected to honor him with a patch on their jerseys.
• In order to clear a spot in the Triple-A rotation for Billy Buckner, who cleared waivers on Tuesday, the Angels have released Kip Wells from the Salt Lake Bees. Wells, a 36-year-old right-hander with 12 years of Major League experience, had a 10.36 ERA in six starts at the Pacific Coast League.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.