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Should John McDonald start for Angels until David Freese returns?

David FreeseLos Angeles AngelsIan StewartJohn McDonaldArizona DiamondbacksMike SciosciaKirk Gibson
Angels have a bit of a dilemma at third base until David Freese returns from injury

With David Freese on the disabled list, the Angels have settled on a third-base platoon of John McDonald against left-handers and Ian Stewart against right-handers.

Stewart is hitless in his last 22 at-bats, matching the longest hitless streak of his career. He is batting .169, with three walks and 29 strikeouts in 65 at-bats. He has not played regularly in the major leagues since 2010.

The Angels expect Freese to return May 18, when he is eligible to be activated, said bench coach and interim manager Dino Ebel. In the meantime, since McDonald has five hits and one strikeout in 16 at-bats, why not milk that hot streak and run him out there every day?

"We'll talk about that when Mike gets here," Ebel said with a smile. Manager Mike Scioscia, who missed the first two games of this series to attend his daughter's graduation from Loyola Marymount, is set to rejoin the Angels on Sunday.

Ebel said the best way to get Stewart out of his slump was to play him.

"Stewart has a left-handed presence with the bat," Ebel said. "He has some power. He plays good defense."

McDonald, 39, is not an everyday player. He is a utility infielder with a .236 career batting average. Still, for a week or so, he'd be thrilled to get the chance to play every day.

"I'd love to," he said, then laughed. "I'd spend more time in the training room. I'm not 25 any more."

The last time he played every day, he said, was at the end of the 2012 season as the Arizona Diamondbacks' shortstop, following an injury to Willie Bloomquist. At one point, McDonald said, Arizona Manager Kirk Gibson wanted to give him a day off.

"No," McDonald said he told Gibson. "I've been waiting all year for this."

McDonald said he was eager for Freese to return.

"The way David was starting to swing the bat, I think everyone is looking forward to him being back and doing what he can do," McDonald said. "That will be a big boost for us -- a healthy and hot David Freese."

Freese is batting just .202, but he had eight hits in his last 21 at-bats before going on the disabled list.

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