Angels third baseman David Freese, sidelined since May 3 because of a small fracture on the middle finger of his right hand, was activated and in the lineup for Tuesday night’s game against the Houston Astros.
Right fielder Kole Calhoun, out since April 16 because of a right-ankle sprain, could return as early as Wednesday, and left fielder Josh Hamilton, out since April 9 because of a torn left-thumb ligament, should join the Angels on Monday in Seattle after a minor-league stint for triple-A Salt Lake, which he will begin Thursday.
Relievers Dane De La Rosa (shoulder irritation) and Sean Burnett (elbow surgery) could also be activated within a week, creating the very distinct possibility the Angels could be at full strength for the first time this season.
But to put it that way might demean the many reserves and minor league callups who have helped the Angels to a 24-20 record entering Tuesday night’s game.
“I’d like to think we’ve always had a full-strength team, but maybe we’ll have a little more depth,” Manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’ve been playing well. The guys in the bullpen have started to jell, and the rotation has been terrific.
“On the offensive side, it’s going to be nice to get a little deeper of a lineup. Even though the guys who have been in there have been scoring the runs we need, it will be good to take a little pressure off some guys and to be little better balanced with Kole and Josh hitting from the left side.”
Freese, who had two homers and four walks in three games at Salt Lake, said he feels a little discomfort in the finger when he throws, but it’s “something I can deal with.” The injury hasn’t affected his swing.
Freese was batting .202 when he went on the disabled list, but he was just beginning to find a groove, with eight hits in 21 at-bats before he was hit on the right hand by a Colby Lewis fastball May 2.
“I’m confident I can pick up where I left off,” Freese said. “I felt good before I got hurt. There were some things I was working on. I’m excited to get back in there. It felt a lot longer than two weeks.”
Hamilton, who hit .444 with two homers and six runs batted in before suffering his injury on a head-first slide into first base in Seattle on April 8, has been hitting on the field for about a week and said he feels no pain or discomfort in his surgically repaired thumb.
“The biggest thing with injuries is you can’t think about them; you have to do what you naturally do when you’re healthy,” Hamilton said. “The quicker you can do that, the faster you get back to where you were. That was my mentality, to swing, and if it hurts, work through it. Fortunately, it hasn’t hurt.”
Calhoun is 11 for 22 (.500) with a homer, two doubles, a triple and five RBIs in five triple-A games, and if he is not activated Wednesday, he probably will join the Angels for Friday night’s game against Kansas City.