7/18/2013 6:07 P.M. ET
Hanson could return to Angels on Tuesday
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Tommy Hanson pitched 3 1/3 innings during his first rehab start for Class A Inland Empire on Thursday night, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out six in a 59-pitch outing.
If the Angels are satisfied with what they saw, there's a good chance Hanson will return to the Major League rotation -- albeit on a limited pitch count -- by Tuesday, when the Angels will need a fifth starter. Hanson, 4-2 with a 5.10 ERA in nine starts, has been out since incurring a right forearm strain on June 26.
With Jason Vargas (blood clot) also on the disabled list, the Angels have been using four starters. Jered Weaver (on five days' rest), C.J. Wilson (nine days' rest) and Jerome Williams (eight days' rest) will open the weekend series against the A's in that order. Joe Blanton -- 2-12 with a 5.53 ERA in 19 starts -- will start Monday's series opener against the Twins on seven days' rest.
"The solution for Joe is pretty straightforward and isn't very complicated; the complicated part is getting out there and executing it and finding a feel," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who wouldn't speculate on Hanson's next step. "[Blanton] just hasn't done it on a consistent basis where he has his fastball command and is able to bring his secondary pitches into a game and use them effectively. When it happens, he's pitched really good baseball for us. When it hasn't happened, you're seeing the results 180 degrees from where it needs to be."
Bourjos inching closer to resuming baseball activities
ANAHEIM -- Peter Bourjos' fractured right wrist still hasn't allowed him to swing a bat, but he could progress to that point in a few days, and the center fielder remains hopeful of returning for the Angels by late July or early August.
Bourjos, confined to playing catch while rehabbing in Arizona last week, recently had an X-ray that revealed his wrist hadn't fully healed yet. He'll get a follow-up on Friday and hopes to be cleared for dry swings -- using a bat without making contact with the baseball -- as soon as this weekend.
Bourjos, 26, has a .333/.392/.457 slash line on the season but has been limited to 40 games. He missed six weeks with a strained left hamstring from April 29 to June 10, was out of the starting lineup for nearly a week after jamming his left thumb, then, in his return against the Astros on June 29, he took a fastball from Jordan Lyles on his right wrist, forcing a return to the disabled list.
Despite the setback, Bourjos is still in line with the original timetable: Two to three weeks for the fracture to fully heal, and then however long it takes to get back up to speed.
"Obviously, I'm still sore, just like with range-of-motion stuff," Bourjos said prior to Thursday's voluntary workout at Angel Stadium. "A week from now, it could be completely different to where I can start swinging and stuff."
Vargas, Burnett limited to long toss in rehab
ANAHEIM -- Angels left-handers Jason Vargas and Sean Burnett have progressed to long tossing from 140 feet, but neither has been able to throw off a mound yet.
Vargas' last start came June 17. Shortly after that, a blood clot was found near his left arm-pit area, prompting him to have surgery on June 26 and shut it down for a couple of weeks.
Vargas, with a 3.65 ERA in 14 starts during his last season before free agency, could've been an attractive chip leading up to the non-waiver Trade Deadline if the Angels were to fall completely out of contention and decided to acquire prospects. But it remains to be seen whether he can return by July 31.
"He's got a little more work to do long-tossing before he can get on the mound," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We'll evaluate him through this next week."
Burnett, limited to 13 games this season and out of action since May 26, hopes to start throwing off the mound by early next week.
Burnett's left elbow has landed him on the disabled list twice this year. On June 10, he visited with Dr. James Andrews and was told to shut it down for four weeks.
"I won't know until I get off the mound, but it feels like I'm making progress and it feels strong," Burnett said. "Hopefully there will be no worries when I do step on the mound."
• Outfielder J.B. Shuck was the Angels' winner of the Heart and Hustle Award, handed out by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to honor active players who "demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embody the values, spirit and tradition of the game." The award is voted on by former players, with one winner selected per team. One overall winner for all 30 clubs will be announced Nov. 19. Mike Trout won it in 2012, Torii Hunter in 2011.
• Don't expect any roster moves for Friday's second-half opener against the A's. A handful of players could be coming off the disabled list in the next few weeks -- Tommy Hanson, Peter Bourjos, Jason Vargas, Sean Burnett -- and the Angels are expected to leave the current roster intact for the time being. Outfielder Kole Calhoun, however, has been making a statement in Triple-A, batting .333 with eight homers in 51 games.
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.