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Freese fractures finger on hit by pitch

ANAHEIM -- Angels third baseman David Freese suffered a non-displaced fracture on the tip of his right index finger on Wednesday night, a product of getting hit by a fastball from Twins right-hander Mike Pelfrey in the fourth inning.

Freese exited immediately after the hit by pitch and was wearing a splint on the injured finger after the Angels' 5-2 win, their season-best seventh in a row. The 32-year-old pending free agent fractured his right middle finger in early May last year and spent 18 days on the shelf.

He'll hope for a similar timetable.

"I don't like talking timelines with injuries, but if it's about the same, it's positive," said Freese, who will keep the splint on his index finger for two weeks. "I'm not sure yet, though."

The Angels will announce a corresponding move on Thursday, but chances are they'll call up Kyle Kubitza, the 25-year-old, left-handed-hitting third baseman they hope will establish himself as the everyday guy next season. Kaleb Cowart, the former No. 1 prospect who has rescued his career with a strong showing in Triple-A, is an outside candidate to replace Freese.

Kubitza (.276/.346/.446 slash line in Triple-A) has spent his last five games playing left field, while Cowart (.336/.415/.541 after two rough years in Double-A and a rough start to 2015 with Class A Advanced) has started at third base.

"The guys who have been out there every day have been remarkably resilient, and they've played a lot," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We lost Collin Cowgill, who's really an important piece of what we do in the outfield, and now we lose David Freese for a couple weeks, it looks like. It's big. We're going to have to continue to carry momentum from game to game."

Outfielder Daniel Robertson exited the game after the sixth inning, two innings after suffering a sore right trapezius muscle while making a highlight-reel catch on a Trevor Plouffe line drive against the center-field fence. But the 29-year-old expects to be fine. He'll get an X-ray on Thursday morning just to be certain.

"It is what it is," Robertson said. "Everybody plays a little banged up."

Video: MIN@LAA: Robertson makes great catch as he hits wall

Freese's injury comes at a time when his team is rolling, winning 17 of 20 to move a season-best 14 games above .500 and remain two games up on first place in the American League West.

"I'll be one hell of a cheerleader," Freese said.

Freese sports a .241/.308/.399 slash line with 11 homers and 43 RBIs and has been batting sixth of late, below the red-hot Erick Aybar. Freese was struggling when he suffered the injury to his middle finger last year, then returned on May 20 and finished the year with a solid .272/.333/.405 slash line over his last 110 games.

"I came back last year and got on a roll," Freese said. "I plan on doing the same."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez and listen to his podcast.
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