6/26/2013 1:20 A.M. ET
Hamilton notches three hits in return to lineup
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Josh Hamilton's right wrist -- already sensitive from a sprain that sidelined him for a month in 2007 -- got sore a couple of weeks ago during an aggressive hitting drill, which requires quick, repetitive two-hand swings at balls quickly being flipped in his direction.
It's safe to say Hamilton won't perform that drill again.
"That's done," Hamilton said. "That's the first thing the doctor told me to shut down."
On Friday, Hamilton's sore wrist prompted him to take a cortisone shot, miss the weekend series against the Pirates -- minus one half-inning on defense -- and stay away from hitting entirely. Early Tuesday afternoon, he picked up a bat again at Comerica Park, said he "couldn't ask to feel any better" and returned to the lineup, going 3-for-5 with an RBI in the Angels' 14-8 victory.
"It's not the swing part; it's the slowing part," Hamilton said when asked how the wrist affects him. "It might look a little weird to you guys, the slowing-down part, but I have to do what feels better. … It'll be fine. Just tape it up and go."
Hamilton owns a .214/.269/.382 slash line and is hitting .171 in June, but Hamilton said he's "not going to use [the injured wrist] as a reason for why I'm not doing good."
The Angels, though, are hopeful that four days off can help Hamilton finally get back on track.
Can't hurt, right?
"We're going to take it one at-bat at a time with him," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Hopefully, he can work through at-bats and get the timing and start to square balls up like he can."
Vargas shut down two weeks after second opinion
DETROIT -- A second opinion on the blood clot in Jason Vargas' left armpit area confirmed what was learned late last week -- the Angels left-hander will require surgery to remove it, prompting him to be shut down from throwing for a couple of weeks.
Vargas' surgery will be performed by Dr. Russell Montgomery at St. Joseph Hospital of Orange at 8 a.m. PT on Wednesday. If all goes well, the 30-year-old can start building back arm strength 14 days later, which should have him back off the disabled list by the end of July.
"Needless to say, this is going to be a procedure that will have some rehab with it," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "My understanding would be a couple weeks before he starts to throw again, and once that throwing process starts, you'll get an indication for how long it'll be. But right now, it's tough to get a timeframe outside of he won't be throwing a baseball for a couple weeks."
When Vargas does return, will the Angels -- 10 games below .500 heading into a three-game series against the Tigers Tuesday -- remain far enough back that they'll entertain trade offers for the pending free agent?
That's a question for another day.
For now, all they can do is try to compensate for the loss of arguably their most productive starter.
Vargas, 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts, first started to feel some tingling in his left middle finger before his last start against the Mariners on June 17. It didn't bother him on the mound, and Vargas pitched well, throwing seven innings of two-run ball while striking out nine batters, but he underwent an exam that revealed the clot three days later.
Blood clots, common in athletes in sports that require aggressive overhand motions, can be scary. Left-hander Aaron Cook lost a rib due to a clot, former big leaguer Craig Dingman's career ended due to complications from it, and Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto's heart temporarily stopped because of medication to treat a clot.
But Vargas' clot was caught early enough that it didn't spread.
"We're all obviously relieved it was caught, not for a guy coming back to pitch, but for a guy needing a procedure for a condition that can be very serious -- that's first and foremost," said Scioscia, who doesn't expect Vargas to join the team on its six-game road trip. "This is something that needs to be taken care of and it will be. That's the most important thing going here, and secondary will be when he can go back and do what he loves to do, which is pitch."
Halos acquire outfielder Cowgill from Mets
ANAHEIM -- The Angels swapped Minor League outfielders with the Mets on Tuesday, trading Kyle Johnson for Collin Cowgill, who has compiled 97 Major League games with the D-backs, A's and Mets the last three years.
Cowgill, 27, bats right-handed and can play all three outfield spots. He was subsequently optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake and was placed on the Angels' 40-man roster, with Ryan Madson being transferred to the 60-day disabled list to clear a spot.
Cowgill was the starting center fielder for the Mets on Opening Day, becoming the second player in franchise history to hit a grand slam in the season opener. He batted .180 (11-for-61) with two homers and eight RBIs in the Majors, then posted a .268/.362/.439 slash line in 32 Pacific Coast League games before being designated for assignment.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto, part of the D-backs' contingent that drafted Cowgill in the fifth round in the 2008 Draft, said Cowgill is a smart baserunner with a plus arm and a "grinder's mentality."
Johnson, 23, was taken in the 25th round in 2012 and was batting .310 with two homers and 30 stolen bases in 67 games for Class A Burlington.
Bourjos hopes to return Wednesday
DETROIT -- Peter Bourjos' left thumb remains swollen, the result of an awkward slide into second base during Sunday's game, but the Angels' center fielder is hopeful of returning to the lineup on Wednesday.
Bourjos underwent an MRI in Southern California during Monday's off-day that revealed no structural damage and diagnosed him with only a contusion.
"I was really relieved," said Bourjos, who suffered the injury on a takeout slide in the second inning against the Pirates and subsequently left the game. "I was pretty nervous because when I woke up yesterday it was probably twice the size it is right now and it was black and blue down here, as well. And that's right where that ligament is that a lot of guys tear. So, I was kind of nervous going into it. Luckily, everything was OK."
Bourjos will receive treatment all of Tuesday and early Wednesday in hopes of starting. In the meantime, he's available off the bench as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement. Holding a bat will give him trouble until the swelling goes down, but Bourjos was elated to not have to return to the disabled list after missing 38 games with a strained hamstring.
"I'm pretty fortunate that it's only a bone bruise," he said.
• With 17 days remaining until the deadline, the Angels have signed 37 of their 39 picks from the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. The only two missing are right-handers Elliot Morris (fourth round) and William Goins (12th).
• Third baseman Luis Jimenez, who played in 24 games for the Angels earlier this season, has been out of the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees' lineup since June 15 due to a right shoulder strain and has yet to be cleared for batting practice.
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.