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Hanson could return to Angels on Tuesday

ANAHEIM -- Right-hander Tommy Hanson pitched 3 1/3 innings during his first rehab start for Class A Inland Empire on Thursday night, giving up two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out six in a 59-pitch outing.

If the Angels are satisfied with what they saw, there's a good chance Hanson will return to the Major League rotation -- albeit on a limited pitch count -- by Tuesday, when the Angels will need a fifth starter. Hanson, 4-2 with a 5.10 ERA in nine starts, has been out since incurring a right forearm strain on June 26.

With Jason Vargas (blood clot) also on the disabled list, the Angels have been using four starters. Jered Weaver (on five days' rest), C.J. Wilson (nine days' rest) and Jerome Williams (eight days' rest) will open the weekend series against the A's in that order. Joe Blanton -- 2-12 with a 5.53 ERA in 19 starts -- will start Monday's series opener against the Twins on seven days' rest.

"The solution for Joe is pretty straightforward and isn't very complicated; the complicated part is getting out there and executing it and finding a feel," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, who wouldn't speculate on Hanson's next step. "[Blanton] just hasn't done it on a consistent basis where he has his fastball command and is able to bring his secondary pitches into a game and use them effectively. When it happens, he's pitched really good baseball for us. When it hasn't happened, you're seeing the results 180 degrees from where it needs to be."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez.
Read More: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Tommy Hanson