Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register reports that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton took one-handed swings Wednesday in Anaheim for the first time since undergoing surgery April 11 to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb.
Hamilton will move his rehab to the Angels’ spring training complex in Arizona on Friday — where he will begin easing back into other baseball-related activities. The 32-year-old slugger hopes to return to Anaheim’s active roster the weekend of May 23-25.
Hamilton was off to a hot start this season, batting .444/.545/.741 with two home runs and six RBI through eight game. He posted a disappointing .250/.307/.432 slash line with 21 homers and 79 RBI in 2013.
Raul Ibanez is currently serving as the Angels’ regular left fielder at age 41.
The Mariners signed free agent left-hander Wade LeBlanc to a one-year deal, Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reported Saturday. LeBlanc previously signed a minor league agreement with the Yankees, but later requested his release following the team’s Grapefruit League outing on Friday. The Mariners have yet to confirm the deal or disclose its terms.
This is LeBlanc’s second stint with the Mariners in two years. He was initially acquired by Seattle in the summer of 2016 after the Blue Jays traded him for cash considerations, and produced a 4.50 ERA, 1.6 BB/9 and 7.4 SO/9 in 50 innings before getting designated for assignment in August. The 33-year-old southpaw was last seen in the majors with the Pirates, with whom he generated another 4.50 ERA, 2,3 BB/9 and 7.1 SO/9 over 68 innings in 2017. He entered free agency after the club declined his $1.25 million option for 2018.
The signing comes at a fortuitous moment for the Mariners, who were pressed to find additional bullpen depth after right-handed reliever David Phelps tore his ulnar collateral ligament last week. As with most injuries of that kind, Phelps is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery and will miss the entire 2018 season. LeBlanc made a full transition to the bullpen in 2017 and boasts the kind of reverse platoon splits (.216/.270/.389 vs. righties and .292/.333/.500 vs. lefties in 2017) that will make him an effective replacement for the right-handed Phelps.