A couple of big bats fans have wanted to see for quite some time will be on display Tuesday when the Angels meet the Astros.
While the Astros will debut slugging first baseman Jon Singleton in the series opener at Minute Maid Park, the Angels will welcome the return of Josh Hamilton, who's been out since injuring his thumb diving into a base April 8. The injury required surgery.
Hamilton was hitting .444 (12-for-27) with two homers and six RBIs in eight games before getting injured. In his career against the Astros, he's a .358 hitter with 16 home runs and 42 RBIs in 54 games.
"He's used to hitting right in the middle of the lineup every day," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You have guys that can fill in, but it's not the same presence you have in that lineup. It's not the same depth you can create."
Singleton, considered by MLB.com's Prospect Watch to be the Astros' No. 3 prospect behind shortstop Carlos Correa and right-hander Mark Appel, will be in Houston's starting lineup for the first time after being signed to a five-year contract. He spent the entire season at Triple-A Oklahoma City and hit .267 with 37 runs, 10 doubles, 14 homers and 43 RBIs in 54 games.
He'll join an Astros lineup that was injected life with the arrival in April of George Springer, who is hitting .259 with 10 homers and 29 RBIs in 41 games, including a stretch from May 21-29 when he hit seven home runs in a seven-game span. He batted .390 with seven homers and 17 RBIs during an 11-game hitting streak from May 17-29.
"I think Singleton is going to be a force in the lineup," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said. "He's a different type of player than Springer. The two of them have played together in the past and when they're both in the same lineup, you get a left-right, 1-2 punch that's pretty powerful. I think those two players will be part of our lineup for many, many years to come."
A left-handed bat, Singleton was one of four players the Astros acquired in the July 2011 deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Phillies. Two other players from that deal -- pitchers Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid -- have reached the Majors, and Cosart is one of the Astros' top starters.
Singleton's first test will be against lefty C.J. Wilson, who gave up one run and four hits in eight innings against the Astros on April 7. He's 6-4 with a 3.05 ERA and has pitched at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts.
Angels: Halos looking to build on division record
The Angels have not played particularly well against American League West opponents this season. The only exception, however, is when they face Houston.
Overall, the Halos are 10-15 against the AL West, and half of those wins have come against the Astros. The Angels are 5-2 against Houston this season, but are 5-13 against the Athletics, Mariners and Rangers. The Angels are 20-11 against teams not in the AL West.
Struggles within the division are not a new trend for the Halos. Last season, they went 32-44 against the AL West -- including a combined 12-26 against the Rangers and Athletics.
Astros: McHugh looking to extend good fortune
Less than two weeks after being outdueled by Jered Weaver, Astros starter Collin McHugh will get another shot at the Angels.
McHugh went seven innings against the Astros' AL West foe May 21, allowing two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts against two walks. But he didn't get the win. No, that went to Weaver, who held the Astros to one run in a complete-game effort.
"The guys at the top of the lineup are aggressive," McHugh said of the Angels. "They're hunting fastballs, so it's really important to get offspeed [pitches] over for strikes."
Claimed off waivers in the offseason, McHugh has been a rotation standout this year. In seven starts, he is 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA and has 50 strikeouts against 12 walks in 45 innings. McHugh tossed seven scoreless innings in his last start against Kansas City on May 27.
• The Astros have allowed more runs (13) in their last two games -- both losses -- than they did during all of their recent seven-game winning streak (12).
• Angels hitting coach Don Baylor (fractured right femur) watched early batting practice several times during the Angels' recent homestand, and Scioscia expects him to be around even more when the team returns Friday, saying, "He's getting better. In terms of the full reins of what he was doing before, we'll see where he is in the next couple weeks."