5 players set to hit comeback trail for Angels in '15

5 players set to hit comeback trail for Angels in '15

ANAHEIM -- On Thursday, the Angels will load up the truck and ship their equipment to Tempe, Ariz. Eight days after that, pitchers and catchers will report for their physicals and Spring Training will begin anew, providing a fresh start for an Angels team that saw its resurgent 2014 season end too quickly.

Leading up to that, MLB.com will roll out a seven-part preview series taking a categorical look at the 2015 Angels. First up, players on the rebound.

SP Jose Alvarez: Acquired from the Tigers for infielder Andrew Romine in Spring Training last year, Alvarez missed four months after removing loose bodies from his pitching elbow in May. But the 25-year-old left-hander is healthy now. He posted a 1.91 ERA in 56 2/3 innings while playing winter ball in Venezuela and could force his way to the big leagues this year.

LF Josh Hamilton: Hamilton once again had his sights set on a bounce-back season, but then he underwent surgery to repair his right AC joint last Wednesday and will be out six to eight weeks. The Angels are hopeful that Hamilton will be in their lineup before the end of April, but they have no idea what to expect in the third of a five-year, $125 million contract.

SP Garrett Richards: The 26-year-old right-hander was having a breakthrough year in 2014, going 13-4 with a 2.61 ERA in 26 starts, then he ruptured his patellar tendon on Aug. 20 and underwent season-ending surgery. Now, Richards is on his way back. He hopes to throw his first bullpen session when pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 18 and is targeting a return by Opening Day. The Angels will be cautious, though. They just want him healthy.

SP Tyler Skaggs: Skaggs has had to accept the fact that this coming season will basically be a lost one. The 23-year-old left-hander had Tommy John surgery last August and the Angels immediately ruled him out for 2015. Skaggs was just starting to come into his own, posting a 4.30 ERA in his first 18 starts of 2014, and may have to fight for a spot in 2016, given a recent increase in starting-pitching depth.

SP C.J. Wilson: The 34-year-old left-hander led the American League in walks, didn't complete six innings in 14 of 31 starts, posted a 5.64 ERA over the last four months and exited his lone postseason start before the end of the first inning, after giving up a bases-clearing double to Alex Gordon in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. The 2014 season was Wilson's worst in five years as a Major League starter, and 2015 will be the fourth of a five-year, $77.5 million contract.

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.