TEMPE, Ariz. -- It had been a calf injury that delayed
"It felt good," Hamilton said. "I did all the things you're supposed to be able to do on the field."
On Monday he did, since the Angels limited him to designated hitter in a game against the
The Angels are off Tuesday. Their next game is Wednesday, and they open the regular season 12 days after that.
Hamilton said Sunday he fully expected to play in the opener, but Scioscia declined to make any such pronouncement.
"There are still some hurdles," Scioscia said Monday. "You want to get his at-bats up. He's got to play left field. He'll need recovery days here and there."
Hamilton responded: "I'm just going to say, whatever Scioscia thinks, I'm good with that. I'm not going to create any controversy with you guys. Whatever he says goes."
Hamilton, a notorious free swinger, hit the third pitch in his first at-bat, then the first pitch in his second and third at-bats. He hit ground balls in his first two at-bats, one for a force play and one for a single, then lined out in his third at-bat.
"The first day back, you'll be a little jumpy and a little out front," he said. "The first couple at-bats were exactly that."
Scioscia said he spoke with
"They're excited to see what it's going to look like with him in the middle," Scioscia said.
And at first …
He started there Monday, and Scioscia said Ibanez looked "very comfortable." If he can handle the position, that would give Scioscia the option to use
"That's the goal, to have options on the offensive side to be strong every day," Scioscia said.
Ibanez, expected to be the Angels' DH, played 100 games in the outfield for the
"I had given one to my son," Ibanez said. "He was in the car [when Scioscia called] and he said, 'Do you want the mitt back, Dad?' "
Ibanez has worked extensively at the position this spring with Pujols and Alfredo Griffin, the Angels' infield coach.
The Angels also tried outfielder Kole Calhoun at first base at the end of their last two games. If the Angels wanted to use Calhoun to spell Pujols without removing Ibanez from the lineup, they probably would need to play Ibanez in left field and move Hamilton to right.
Ibanez has played 136 games at first base. He also has played one game at third base and one at catcher, each time in a blowout. After the Mariners drafted him in 1992, they moved him from outfielder to catcher.
"I was such a good catcher," he said, "they moved me back to the outfield."
Pujols was excused from camp Monday so he could attend an event for his charitable foundation in Chicago. … The Angels are off Tuesday, but pitchers