4/11/2014 10:44 P.M. ET
De La Rosa back from DL; Maronde optioned
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- An Angels bullpen that coughed up a 5.63 ERA through nine games is expected to get a lift with the return of right-hander Dane De La Rosa, who was activated before Friday night's game after Angels manager Mike Scioscia saw what he needed in a pregame workout.
Left-handed reliever Nick Maronde was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room on the 25-man roster.
De La Rosa, sidelined to open the season by a strained right forearm after only two Spring Training appearances, has pitched three scoreless innings in Minor League rehab games -- two for Double-A Arkansas after one for Class A Advanced Inland Empire.
The 6-foot-7 De La Rosa emerged as the iron man of Scioscia's bullpen in 2013. He appeared in 75 games and was 6-1 with two saves in 72 1/3 innings, fashioning an ERA of 2.86.
Hamilton undergoes successful thumb surgery
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton had surgery on his left thumb on Friday morning to repair a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament and a torn capsule.
"Everything went well," reported Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who will have to figure out a way to fill a massive void left by the man who was off to a blazing start before injuring the thumb on a headfirst slide into first base in Seattle on Tuesday night.
Hamilton's recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks. The 32-year-old left fielder was batting .444 through eight games with two homers, six RBIs and seven runs scored. He'd also drawn a team-high six walks, producing a .545 on-base percentage to go with a .741 slugging mark.
Left-handed-hitting J.B. Shuck was summoned from Triple-A Salt Lake and inserted in the lineup at the No. 7 spot, replacing Hamilton in left. Scioscia also has Collin Cowgill available in what shapes up as a platoon.
"Shuck and Cowgill will get the lion's share of playing time in left field," Scioscia said.
Hamilton was hitting fourth behind Albert Pujols, who homered in consecutive games Tuesday and Wednesday in Seattle. Designated hitter Raul Ibanez was thrust into the cleanup role for Friday night's Interleague series opener against the Mets and right-hander Dillon Gee.
Scioscia said he plans to keep Mike Trout in the No. 2 spot, behind Kole Calhoun. David Freese, Howie Kendrick, Shuck, Chris Iannetta and Erick Aybar filled out the lineup in the opener of the homestand.
"What we really liked was how our lineup was lengthened with the left-handed bat Josh brought in the middle," Scioscia said. "We've gone through stretches where we've lost big guys for two months here."
Ibanez, signed as a free agent after a big season in Seattle, is batting .192 in 26 at-bats with one homer and seven RBIs. Freese, the former Cardinals star acquired in the four-player swap sending Peter Bourjos to St. Louis, is batting .179 with one homer and three RBIs.
The Angels are batting only .234 as a team and have been outhomered, 14-10, through nine games.
Baylor starts physical therapy in recovery
ANAHEIM -- Angels hitting coach Don Baylor, recovering from surgery to repair a fractured right femur suffered in the pregame festivities before the home opener March 31, is in "good spirits," manager Mike Scioscia said following a phone conversation Friday.
"Donnie's starting physical therapy," Scioscia said, adding that "Groove" had a few thoughts about the team's lineup for their series opener Friday night against the Mets.
Baylor was on one knee, crouching, when the leg gave on him as he reached for Vladimir Guerrero's ceremonial first pitch. He was assisted to the clubhouse and taken to the UC Irvine Medical Center, where surgery was performed April 1.
Scioscia said Baylor planned to remain connected with the team's hitters by watching video and staying in contact with them until he's able to rejoin the team.
• The Angels' rotation, considered their primary question mark coming into the season, has been solid overall. The starters' 3.93 ERA ranks seventh in the American League - and that's with ace Jered Weaver (6.00) and new lefty Hector Santiago (7.71) struggling coming out of the gate. Weaver faces Mets lefty Jonathan Niese in Saturday's middle game of the weekend series.
• The home run ball has been the big issue for the Angels' bullpen early on. In 22 innings, their relievers have surrendered seven homers, more than any other team in the American League. Closer Ernesto Frieri and Fernando Salas each have been victimized twice.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.