The Angels have held their heads above water, and now they're getting a lot healthier.
Third baseman David Freese was activated off the disabled list on Tuesday, right fielder Kole Calhoun could return on Wednesday, left fielder Josh Hamilton is hopeful of rejoining the team by Monday's series opener in Seattle, and key relievers Dane De La Rosa and Sean Burnett could both be less than a week away.
"It's going to be nice to get a little bit deeper [of an] offensive lineup," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Even though with the guys who have been in there, we've been scoring runs as needed, it's going to be good to take a little bit of pressure off some of the guys with a little deeper look. A little more balance, too. When you're missing two big left-handed hitters in Hamilton and Calhoun, you have to mix and match a lot more than you would if they were in there."
The Angels, coming off a 9-3 win on Tuesday night, have won nine of their last 12 games and have a chance to take their fourth consecutive series in Wednesday's finale, in which ace Jered Weaver will oppose Astros right-hander Collin McHugh.
McHugh -- 2-2 with a 3.48 ERA -- is one of five Major League pitchers this season to have allowed three hits or fewer while striking out seven or more in at least three starts, joining the star-studded foursome of Johnny Cueto, Adam Wainwright, Max Scherzer and Jose Fernandez.
He's back in his comfort zone, starting every five days after bouncing between the bullpen and rotation -- not to mention the Majors and the Minors -- with the Mets and Rockies the previous two seasons.
"It's easier to get into a routine when you do one or the other," McHugh said. "Most of my time in the Minor Leagues was as a starter, so this is what I'm used to."
And this is the Weaver the Angels are used to seeing.
After a rough start to the season, the 31-year-old right-hander is back on track, posting a 1.86 ERA over his last six starts. Weaver, now 4-3 with a 3.14 ERA, recently said that his arm feels 100 percent healthy for the first time since "probably 2008, 2009." He credits that to the stretching and massage therapy to which he committed himself this offseason, and he feels he's slowly getting his strength back, too.
He also feels there's upside left.
"Oh yeah, absolutely," Weaver said. "I think that I can get stronger. It's just going to take me doing the work and continuing to trust the training staff and the strength staff, and just going out there and trying to get this thing resolved."
Astros: Hoes struck by illness
Outfielder L.J. Hoes was ill on Tuesday afternoon and had to be sent back to the team hotel, prompting manager Bo Porter to use both of his catchers, Carlos Corporan and Jason Castro, while moving Jesus Guzman from first base to left field and shifting Chris Carter from designated hitter to first base. Hoes' status for Wednesday's series finale is unknown.
Angels: Burnett getting close
Burnett is slated to make his sixth rehab appearance for Double-A Arkansas on Wednesday, and it could be his final one. The 31-year-old, in the final stages of recovering from August elbow surgery, has notched four consecutive scoreless outings, and Scioscia said on Tuesday that he's "very close."
• Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes-winning jockey Victor Espinoza and California Chrome trainer Art Sherman will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Wednesday's game.
• The Angels' 13 comeback wins were the second most in the Majors heading into Tuesday's game. But eight of their last 15 losses have come by one run.
• A win on Wednesday would give the Astros their third consecutive series victory. The last time they won three straight series was from Aug. 30 to Sept. 8, 2010.
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.