After missing over the last two months due to a left thumb injury, Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton made his return to the lineup, and the team will immediately need his offensive production.
In his first game back on Tuesday, Hamilton provided that impact production as he hit a solo home run as his only hit in his three official at-bats. He will need to continue to be a factor with his bat as the Angels are now 5.5 games behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics, who hold the league’s most productive offense at 5.19 runs per game.
Prior to his injury, Hamilton had been off to a hot offensive start to the season as he was leading the league with a .444 batting average to go along with two home runs and six RBIs in eight games played. The 33-year-old will need to continue to hit with confidence the way he did to begin the season, especially given the recent health issues of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols‘ offensive slump.
In many ways, the former AL MVP will need to be the x-factor that pushes the Angels over the top. With that said, it looks as if he is ready to step in that role with his solid performance in his first game back in two months. It may be asking a lot from Hamilton after missing an extending period of time, but it is not a stretch to believe he can do it given the talent he possesses.
The bottom line is that the Angels have put themselves in position to compete for a division title, now they need guys like Hamilton to start producing right away in order from them to accomplish that feat.