The Angels have a tentative plan for Josh Hamilton’s return, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Hamilton would report to the team’s extended Spring Training camp in Arizona for a 2-3 week stint, then a minor league rehabilitation assignment and then he’d potentially rejoin the Halos in early June. A source tells Shaikin that Hamilton is expected to report “sooner rather than later” to the extended spring camp, though nothing has been officially announced yet.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto told reporters, including MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, that the club was indeed preparing to get Hamilton ready, though noted that no plans had been finalized and that Hamilton himself hadn’t yet been informed of any details.
As Shaikin notes, the lengthy rehab process still awaiting Hamilton “buys time” for the team and owner Arte Moreno to figure out exactly how they’ll handle the outfielder’s return, given Moreno’s pointed statements about how the Angels might look to enforce clauses in Hamilton’s contract in regards to the use of drugs and alcohol. Hamilton’s 4-5 weeks of rehab time could be long enough to show other teams that he’s healthy and a trade could be worked out, though clearly the Angels would have to cover the majority of Hamilton’s remaining salary in any deal. It’s also still possible that Hamilton could end up back with the Angels if he looks good in the minors, since the team’s offense (particularly from their corner outfielders) has been lacking over the first two weeks of the season.