"If it had just been the nose and not the thumb, it might've been a little quicker," he said. "I could've started hitting a little earlier. But you get hit in the face, it's not bad being able to swing a few weeks after."
Cowgill made his first start since July 12 as part of his rehab tour in Salt Lake as he plays his way back to the Angels. Playing seven innings in right field, Cowgill was part of the Bees' nail-biting 4-3 win on Friday night.
He's expected to play at least two more games with the Bees before joining the big league club in its pennant race. And while he is invested in helping last-place Salt Lake win a few ballgames, he's keeping a close eye on what's happening in Anaheim.
"It's miserable," he said of sitting out the last few weeks. "You never want to be not able to perform when your team is out there playing. Those are my boys, my brothers. It's tough."
Cowgill managed to knock a single as one of the Bees' eight hits, and finished 1 for 3 with a walk. His first at-bat ended in a strikeout, but just getting real pitching felt like progress.
"The only way you get your timing back is to swing a bat in a live game," he said. "It felt great. No issues with my thumb."
Cowgill was in for most of the game as the Bees built a lead, but it got truly interesting after he left.
David Carpenter, Dustin Richardson and Ryan Chaffee each pitched scoreless stints in relief, but the three-run lead unwound in the ninth as Michael Kohn allowed two runs on three hits and a walk in only a third of an inning. Fernando Salas got the save with a ground ball to end the game.
The Bees got a strong start behind lefty Wade LeBlanc, who held Tacoma without a hit for the first four innings before finally conceding a run in the fifth. LeBlanc earned his eighth win of the season in Salt Lake while piling up nine strikeouts in his six innings.
Luis Jimenez was the offensive leader in the win with two hits and two RBIs, including a third-inning home run for his 18th of the year with the Bees.
R Wade LeBlanc earns his eighth win, striking out nine.
• Luis Jimenez has two hits and two RBIs with a solo home run.