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Angels expect Hamilton back for Houston opener

Angels expect Hamilton back for Houston opener

OAKLAND -- Josh Hamilton felt good during a workout with the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees in Albuquerque, N.M., on Sunday afternoon and will be activated off the disabled list for Tuesday's series opener against the Astros, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after a 6-3 loss to the A's at O.co Coliseum.

Hamilton will be taking the roster spot of 32-year-old right-hander Jarrett Grube, who was optioned back to the Minor Leagues three days after being called up for the first time.

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That means the Angels will temporarily go with a six-man bullpen, with Matt Shoemaker pushed back to provide some length as a reliever until his next start (likely Saturday). Grant Green, C.J. Cron and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Raul Ibanez were all on the bubble with Hamilton on the verge of being activated, but all three will stay on the roster for now.

Hamilton, out since April 8, suffered a bone bruise in his surgically repaired left thumb during his first game with Triple-A Salt Lake on May 22, but returned to his rehab assignment Friday and Saturday and went a combined 4-for-9 with a double and two strikeouts.

The 33-year-old Hamilton was batting .444/.545/.741 in eight games before completely tearing the ulnar collateral ligament along with a torn capsule after he banged his left thumb on first base during a headfirst slide at Safeco Field.

"Hopefully he can pick up right where he left off when he got hurt," first baseman Albert Pujols said.

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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