Freese to begin rehab assignment on Sunday

Freese to begin rehab assignment on Sunday

ANAHEIM -- Angels third baseman David Freese is taking a major step toward returning from his fractured right index finger -- he'll start a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake on Sunday, manager Mike Scioscia said Friday. There is a chance he could be activated before rosters expand on Sept. 1.

Freese threw from 120 feet before Friday's series opener against the Blue Jays at Angel Stadium, his third straight day testing the finger and his longest distance throwing yet.

"It's not so much pain anymore, it's just sore," Freese said. "That's just the level that you're trying to get at with a broken finger. It's gonna be sore, obviously, because it's still broken technically, but once it gets to a certain stage you can handle it."

That's a key improvement in itself. About a week ago, Freese felt like he was going backward in his recovery, and had to go several days without putting pressure on his finger.

The regression was especially for frustrating for Freese, who has already missed a month of action after being hit by a pitch on July 22. He had the same injury last season, but it only kept him out three weeks.

With Freese out, the Angels first traded for the White Sox's Conor Gillaspie as a stopgap, but they designated Gillaspie for assignment on Tuesday and called up No. 12 prospect Kaleb Cowart, a much better defender. But Cowart is 0-for-10 at the plate since making his MLB debut.

Worth noting

• Second baseman Johnny Giavotella was not in the Angels' lineup on Friday because he was ill, Scioscia said. As of Friday afternoon, Giavotella was not at Angel Stadium.

• As scheduled, left-hander C.J. Wilson underwent season-ending surgery to remove bone spurs and bone chips from his left elbow on Thursday. Wilson expects to be ready for Spring Training.

Scioscia did not want to announce specific results of the surgery, leaving that for medical personnel, but Wilson's wife, Brazilian model Lisalla Montenegro, posted a picture to Instagram of Wilson watching Thursday's Angels game from home after successful surgery.

Tyler Skaggs, recovering from Tommy John Surgery, is still throwing two bullpen sessions per week as he rebuilds his arm strength.

David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.