By Bill Shaikin
2:10 PM PST, February 25, 2014
The Angels have yet to play an exhibition game, and yet two of their stars left the field Tuesday because of injury.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton left the clubhouse on crutches after injuring his left calf during a baserunning drill. An MRI examination confirmed the strain; Hamilton said he would be reevaluated in a few days but said he was not concerned about his readiness for opening day.
Pitcher C.J. Wilson left a practice field on a cart after being hit on the side of his head by a Yorvit Torrealba line drive. Wilson was bloodied but conscious and alert, according to General Manager Jerry Dipoto.
Wilson was knocked down but popped right back up and wanted to keep pitching, Dipoto said. Instead, after Wilson passed an initial neurological examination at the ballpark, the Angels sent him for a CT scan as a precaution.
"Everything is fine," Wilson tweeted, "except that pitch I threw."
Hamilton said he suffered the calf injury as he took a lead off first base and then planted his left foot to run. He said he would be on crutches for about two days while the spasm eases in his left leg.
"I can't straighten it right now," Hamilton said.
He said he is optimistic because he never has had a significant calf injury. He said he plans to take the injury "a week at a time" and be prudent in his rehabilitation.
"It sucks. I felt really good swinging the bat," Hamilton said. "I'm not going to rush back. There's no reason to rush."
Wilson and Hamilton are critical to the Angels' hopes of contention this season. Wilson and Jered Weaver each is expected to pitch 200 innings at the head of an otherwise young and unproven starting rotation.
Hamilton, 32, batted .250 with 21 home runs and a .739 OPS last season, a disappointing first year of his five-year, $125-million contract with the Angels. In his final season with the Texas Rangers, he batted .285 with 43 homers and a .930 OPS.
Hamilton regained about 20 pounds last winter. He lost about 25 pounds before his first season with the Angels, believing he would not lose weight as easily during the season outside of the heat and humidity of Texas, then decided to regain the weight during the off-season.
He said he did not believe the fluctuating weight was related to the calf injury, noting he had played at his current weight for years without a similar injury. He said this injury did not make him wonder if another challenging season might be in the offing.
"It is going to be a great year. I know it is. I believe it is," Hamilton said. "There have been times where I tweaked something in spring training and had a great year."
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