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Calf strain puts Hamilton on shelf at least two weeks

Calf strain puts Hamilton on shelf at least two weeks

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton, who strained his left calf during a baserunning drill on Tuesday afternoon, will be out of action for a minimum of two weeks, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

"But as of right now," Scioscia said Wednesday morning, "we're very optimistic that he'll get back in, be able to get back in shape and do what he needs to do for the start of the season."

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Hamilton was on crutches on Tuesday because he couldn't put any weight on his left foot. The Angels are hopeful that he can start throwing in the next few days to keep his arm in shape, then eventually take some soft-toss to keep his swing going. But, as Scioscia said, "This is going to take weeks; not days."

Asked if he believes Hamilton will get enough Spring Training action to be ready to go by Opening Day on March 31, Scioscia said: "Under the guidelines we've been given, he should, but this thing has to heal on its own terms and we'll just see where this leads."

If Hamilton has to start the season on the disabled list, J.B. Shuck could take his place in left field and the left-handed-hitting Raul Ibanez could take his place in the middle of the lineup, but the Angels are far from considering that.

Hamilton has never missed any time with injuries below his knee. Last year, he played in 151 games -- his most since 2008 -- but sported an uncharacteristic .250/.307/.432 in the first of a five-year, $125 million contract. Over the offseason, though, he got back to his customary 240 pounds. And this spring, many in camp were raving about how good his swing looked.

Whenever he gets back, Scioscia is confident Hamilton can pick up right where he left off.

"He got a lot of the fundamental workout out of the way this week," Scioscia said. "His arm is in shape. Everything except for the calf was looking good. He was running well. He got enough work on the offensive end to build up some of the things that he needs to build up."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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