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Mike Trout takes batting practice in preparation for rehab assignment

The specifics of Mike Trout's path back to the Angels lineup are becoming clearer.

The center fielder, who is recovering from thumb surgery, took batting practice Friday at Angel Stadium and will need to do so for three to five more days before starting a minor league rehab assignment.

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"He feels good with it," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But he needs the batting practice just to get the stamina up and make sure that everything's firing the way it should."

Trout could begin play Tuesday for triple-A Salt Lake or for Class-A Inland Empire.

The first half of the major league season ends July 9. If Trout starts playing early in the week, a return in Texas before ends is plausible. If he requires more time, he'd likely target the first day after the All-Star break, July 14 against Tampa Bay, for his return.

Garrett Richards is nearing evaluation

Right-hander Garrett Richards has not pitched since the season's third day because of biceps nerve irritation. He has recouped strength and is scheduled to visit a doctor next week for an evaluation.

General manager Billy Eppler said the date has not been set. Scioscia said the best-case scenario would be Richards being cleared to begin a throwing program.

Richards, 29, said in mid-May that he had targeted an August return. For that to be possible, he would need to be cleared immediately.

"We felt this might be a little bump in the road," Scioscia said. "It's turned out to be a pretty big crater."

Nick Franklin joins Angels

The Angels acquired utility man Nick Franklin from Milwaukee for a player to be named or cash. Franklin, 26, is out of options and has been added to the club's 40-man roster, so he must join the Angels' 25-man roster this weekend.

Drafted as a second baseman two picks behind Trout in 2009, Franklin has played primarily in the outfield in recent seasons.

Short hops

The Angels sent left-hander Jose Alvarez to Salt Lake and recalled right-hander Brooks Pounders. … The Angels will activate right-hander Bud Norris on Saturday from the disabled list. … Recovered from a one-day bout with a stomach bug, right-hander Matt Shoemaker said he will throw a bullpen session Saturday. He has not pitched since June 14 because of a forearm strain. … Angels owner Arte Moreno will present Albert Pujols with the bat and ball from his 600th home run at a pregame ceremony Saturday.

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Twitter: @pedromoura

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