8/2/2014 9:41 P.M. ET
Hamilton plays despite bruised finger
By David Adler / MLB.com
ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Hamilton, who sustained a contusion on his left middle finger when he was hit by a pitch in Friday night's series opener against the Rays, tested the finger early Saturday and felt well enough to play.
"We had a lot of things we had to try to measure this morning and this afternoon, and Josh feels really good," manager Mike Scioscia said.
Hamilton was slotted into the cleanup spot Saturday, as he was on Friday, and started in left field. He was healthy enough to allow the Angels to option J.B. Shuck, who played left field on Friday, to Triple-A Salt Lake to make room for Saturday's starter, C.J. Wilson, who was activated from the disabled list.
"When you get hurt, you're a little unsure until you wake up the next morning," Hamilton said. "Not a big difference, but it is what it is. I can grip the bat and throw the ball and do what I need to do."
Hamilton threw and took swings, saying afterwards that the finger "felt good enough." He said that although his finger did still hurt, it was manageable and he did not have to hold anything back while throwing or swinging.
"I'm letting it go," he said.
Hamilton took batting practice as normal before Saturday's game and appeared to be fine, hitting a few moonshots deep into the right-center-field seats at Tropicana Field.
X-rays taken on Hamilton's finger Friday night had shown a fracture, but the doctors were not sure if it was new or old, and Hamilton said Saturday that it didn't matter either way -- he would still be playing. He added that if it was an old break, it might have helped absorb the impact of the pitch better.
Hamilton also said that this injury was easier to deal with than, for example, a hamstring injury, because it doesn't limit his ability to play the game.
"The hurting part of it, it's just a little swinging, OK, take a break, swing again, or throw," Hamilton said.
Sprained left ankle for Thatcher; DL likely
ST. PETERSBURG -- Angels reliever Joe Thatcher left Saturday's game against the Rays at Tropicana Field in the bottom of the fourth inning with a sprained left ankle.
After the game, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he expected that the injury would land Thatcher on the disabled list.
"He's very sore," Scioscia said. "Most likely DL."
Thatcher was walking around the locker room on crutches after the game, with his ankle wrapped. He said the ankle wasn't broken, but that he would likely be out a few weeks and is targeting a return before the end of August.
Thatcher pulled up hobbling trying to chase down Brandon Guyer's bunt single down the third-base line. It was the left-hander's first time pitching since July 21.
The Angels' trainers met the limping Thatcher out by third base to examine him, and eventually helped Thatcher off the field.
Thatcher had entered the game to start the fourth with the Angels trailing, 6-3, and threw 15 pitches before exiting. He was replaced by Michael Roth.
• Injured outfielder Collin Cowgill (broken nose, thumb) played a rehab game Friday for Triple-A Salt Lake and will play another one Saturday, Scioscia said. Scioscia said Cowgill's return is "on the horizon."
"We'll see every day where he is, but he shouldn't be that far away," Scioscia said.
• Shuck, who started Friday's game in left field, was optioned to Salt Lake to make room for Saturday starter Wilson (sprained right ankle), who was activated from the DL.
• The Angels claimed infielder Ryan Wheeler off outright waivers from Colorado and assigned him to Salt Lake. They designated right-hander David Carpenter for assignment in a corresponding move.
• When Scioscia arrived at Tropicana Field on Saturday, his office was filled with Joe Maddon Mr. Potato Head dolls -- Saturday's giveaway at The Trop, in honor of the Rays skipper.
"I went in there, and I had just asked him for one Potato Head, you know, to see what it was, and it looked like it was a Potato Head farm in my office," Scioscia said. "They were everywhere."
Scioscia used the likenesses of his old co-coach with the Angels for soft toss, smashing the Maddon Potato Heads with a fungo bat.
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.