DETROIT — Jason Vargas will undergo surgery Wednesday to remove a blood clot from his left armpit area, a procedure that is expected to sideline the Angels left-hander for three weeks to a month.
Vargas, who was put on the disabled list Friday with a 6-4 record and 3.65 earned-run average in 14 starts, will not throw for at least two weeks. Once he resumes throwing, he should have enough arm strength to return after a few bullpen sessions and a minor league start or two.
"We're all relieved this was caught, not for a guy coming back to pitch but for a guy needing a procedure for a condition that could be very serious," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "This needs to be taken care of. That's the most important thing."
Vargas could be a prime target of contenders looking to acquire pitching before the July 31 trade deadline, and the blood clot could hamper efforts to trade him for prospects who could bolster a weak farm system. But Vargas should have a few starts before the end of July to prove he is sound.
An MRI test revealed no structural damage in the left thumb of Peter Bourjos, which the center fielder jammed sliding into second on Sunday. Bourjos, who was diagnosed with a bruise, entered the game in the eighth inning Tuesday night as a replacement for Mike Trout in center field, and he could start on Wednesday.
"I was really relieved," Bourjos, said before the game. He missed 40 games in May and June because of a left hamstring strain and is batting .331 with a .386 on-base percentage in 35 games.
"I was pretty nervous. When I woke up Monday, it was probably twice the size it is now and black and blue in the area where a lot of guys tear the ligament. But the swelling has gone down a lot since yesterday."
The Angels acquired outfielder Collin Cowgill from the New York Mets for minor league outfielder Kyle Johnson. Cowgill, designated for assignment on June 18, has played 97 big league games with Arizona (2011), Oakland (2012) and New York (2013), batting .237 with four home runs and 26 runs batted in.
To clear a 40-man roster spot for Cowgill, who was optioned to triple A, the Angels moved reliever Ryan Madson to the 60-day DL. Cowgill, 27, bats right-handed and can play three outfield spots. The opening-day center fielder for the Mets this season, Cowgill hit .180 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 23 games.
Johnson, 23, hit .310 with two home runs and 30 RBIs in 67 games for Class-A Burlington (Iowa).
Josh Hamilton, who took a cortisone shot in his sore right wrist Friday, returned to the lineup for the first time since Thursday, saying, "It's not the swing part that's the problem, it's the slowing down."
That was apparent when, on his first swing Tuesday night, Hamilton's bat flew into the seats about 12 rows behind the first base dugout. Hamilton stroked a run-scoring single to right field in his third at-bat, in the fifth inning.