The Josh Hamilton era in Los Angeles finally seemed to be on an upswing, and all it took was a head-first dive into first base to set the veteran slugger back again.
A thumb injury Hamilton suffered during an ill-advised dive toward first in Wednesday's seventh inning resulted in the latest setback for the $125 million outfielder. Hamilton suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his left hand and will miss six-to-eight weeks.
After initially announcing that Hamilton would need surgery, the Angels said further tests will be taken Friday to determine whether or not he'll undergo a procedure.
The injury comes on the heels of Hamilton being named the American League player of the week, and the 32-year-old slugger finally appeared headed in the right direction as an Angel. He ranks fourth in the AL in batting (.444) and had two home runs and six RBIs at the time of the injury. Hamilton was a lightning-rod for criticism early last season, when a horrible April (.204 batting average) in his first month with the Angels helped sink Los Angeles to the bottom of the AL West standings.
A fresh start seemed to be the ticket for Hamilton during the early part of 2014, but his latest injury only adds questions about how much he can help the Angels as a thirty-something former All-Star. The good news is that the Angels have some capable replacements in Collin Cowgill and Triple-A call-up J.B. Shuck, who hit .293 in 129 games with the Angels last season. Both players are legitimate big-league starters.