Josh Hamilton is back in the Angels’ lineup for the first time since April 8

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Out since April 8 following thumb surgery, Josh Hamilton is off the disabled list and back in the Angels’ starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Astros.

J.B. Shuck initially took over as the primary left fielder in Hamilton’s absence, but when he struggled the Angels turned to converted infielder Grant Green to handle the position and he’s hit .361 in 21 games.

Hamilton’s return was delayed when he bruised his thumb while rehabbing in the minors, but he ended up going 6-for-13 (.462) with two doubles in three rehab games.

Hamilton, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels last offseason, has hit .259 with 23 homers and a .764 OPS since the deal while playing 159 of a possible 218 games.

Michael Wacha leaves game with a left oblique strain

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Cardinals starter Michael Wacha suffered a strained left oblique muscle during his start this afternoon against the Phillies, causing him to leave in the fourth inning.

Wacha is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA and a 71/36 K/BB ratio in 84.1 innings across 15 starts this season with St. Louis. To the extent he has to miss some time — and obliques invariably send starters to the disabled list — potential fill-in candidates include John Gant, Daniel Poncedeleon and Dakota Hudson.