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Josh Hamilton injury: Angels slugger planning to return in late May

Hamilton was off to a fantastic start, and he sounds eager to get back to it.

Bob Levey

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton hopes to return to the field later this month, according to the OC Register's Pedro Moura.

Hamilton tore the ulna collateral ligament in his left thumb on April 8 and underwent surgery. He was expected to miss six to eight weeks, and although he said he felt as though he "could be good in two weeks," it looks like he'll be back on the early part of the team's projection.

Before hitting the disabled list, Hamilton was hitting .444/.545/.741 with two homers and six runs driven in over 33 plate appearances. After a disappointing debut with the Angels in 2013 -- in which he hit .250/.307/.432 -- he looked as though he could turn things around in Year Two. He still could, despite the surgical setback, but hand injuries can sap power, so there are still some considerable hurdles for him to overcome before returning to his 2010 MVP-level production.

Hamilton has only taken one-handed swings at this point, but he should be gearing up for a rehab assignment soon if he intends to return by May 23.

The Angels are currently 16-17 and in fourth place in the AL West.