DETROIT -- Alberto Callaspo can now readily admit that this -- the first year of a two-year extension that made him the Angels' starting third baseman through 2014 -- has been his most challenging season yet.
It began when he checked into Spring Training overweight. Then he missed 19 games while on the disabled list with a right calf strain, sitting idly as a surging Luis Jimenez temporarily made a case to take his job. Then he slumped, batting .223 with a .289 on-base percentage in his first 39 games after coming off the disabled list. And, toward the end of that, came a seven-game stretch in which he committed six errors.
"I believe in myself," Callaspo said in Spanish. "Always. No matter what."
Callaspo can happily say that now, because he's made it to the other side. His trademark defense is back, and along with that, his offense has picked up. Callaspo has reached base in 13 straight games and went into Thursday's series finale against the Tigers sporting an 11-game hitting streak, during which he's batting .405 (17-for-42) to raise his slash line to .268/.335/.376 for the season.
Asked if he was proud to overcome the way he has, Callaspo said: "Of course I am."
"There was the slump, the errors. [The errors are] something that has never happened to me before. And that happens to everyone. … There's a first time for everything. But it's not how one starts; it's how one finishes."
Hanson to DL, gets good news from MRI
DETROIT - An MRI on Tommy Hanson's right forearm strain, which made him a late scratch for Wednesday's start against the Tigers, revealed no structural damage. Hanson, placed on the disabled list Thursday morning, will be shut down from throwing for seven days and then can start to build back arm strength if he feels better.
Thanks to Monday's off-day, Hanson's next turn through the rotation won't come up until July 6. And because his DL stint is backdated to June 20, he could've been activated by then. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't expect Hanson to be ready by then -- though the club also doesn't expect this to be a long-term injury.
"I'm not relieved," Hanson said of not requiring surgery. "Obviously I don't want anything wrong. But I'm kind of to the point where it is what it is. I'll take the seven days, rest it and get back after it."
Left-hander Michael Roth was called up from Double-A Arkansas, where he turned in a 3.61 ERA in 10 games (eight starts), to temporarily provide length out of the bullpen while Hanson is out. Hanson, 4-2 with a 5.10 ERA in nine starts, was scratched 10 minutes before game time at Comerica Park late Wednesday afternoon.
"I was warming up in the bullpen and felt something weird," said Hanson, who had already missed nearly four weeks on the bereavement list. "I'm not going to throw and make it any worse, so I shut it down."
Comfortable De La Rosa dealing since return
DETROIT -- Mike Scioscia can't quite pinpoint what exactly has been different about Dane De La Rosa since rejoining the team two weeks ago, but late Wednesday night, after the 6-foot-7 right-hander recorded six critical outs in a 7-4 win, the Angels' manager kept going back to the word "decisive."
"Certainly, I think he's feeling comfortable with his stuff and what he can do, and not trying to maybe create too much and just letting his stuff work -- and I think he's decisive out there," Scioscia said. "I think he's pitching with confidence now. Dane has too good of stuff not to have had this opportunity earlier in his career, to pitch and stay in the Major Leagues. And sometimes a player needs to find out what isn't working for him and make adjustments to find out what does work for him. But right now, he's throwing the ball as well as any reliever in our league."
In six appearances since being called back up from Triple-A, De La Rosa has given up one run in 8 2/3 innings, striking out nine and walking one to put his ERA at 3.31 in 35 1/3 innings this season.
This time of year, the 30-year-old De La Rosa said, he always reaches back for an extra gear.
"[Early on], you're still working on stuff, working out your kinks mechanically and all that stuff," De La Rosa said. "Now, you have everything settled and it's time to step it up a little bit."
Asked what gear he's in right now, De La Rosa said: "Like third."
How many does he have?
"Six," he responded.
This is De La Rosa's 11th season in pro ball, and he already has far more Major League time than he's ever had. The last two years with the Rays, he combined for all of 12 appearances in the Majors. And before that, he bounced around, from two years in the Yankees' system to four years of independent ball.
Nothing is guaranteed in this game, and De La Rosa knows that as well as anyone.
"So I'm just trying to do the best I can while I'm here," he said.
• Peter Bourjos' left thumb continues to bother him while he hits, so the Angels' center fielder was out of the starting lineup for a third straight day on Thursday. Bourjos took batting practice again on Thursday morning and felt better, but said the thumb "isn't going to feel 100 percent for a while." He's nonetheless hopeful of playing Friday against the Astros.
• Mark Trumbo, batting .130 over his last 11 games, was given the day off for Thursday's series finale against the Tigers. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said it was "just a recharge day" and that there are "no imminent plans to move him out of the middle of the lineup."
• Billy Buckner is the third Angels pitcher to finish a game and start the following contest the next day, according to STATS LLC. The other two were Tom Burgmeier (Aug. 27-28, 1968) and Al Levine (May 9-10, 2001). Buckner recorded the final two outs of a 14-8 win on Tuesday night, then gave up three runs in three-plus innings of an eventual 7-4 win on Wednesday night.
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.