David Murphy will sit out until playoffs

Updated: September 30, 2010, 10:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will return to the lineup Friday night for the AL West champions, while outfielder David Murphy will be held out until the playoffs.

Murphy has a strained left groin, although an MRI shows no tear. Manager Ron Washington says Murphy will be held out of the four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels that will wrap up the regular season, and he should be ready to play next week.

Hamilton's been out since breaking two ribs Sept. 4 while crashing into an outfield wall making a catch at Minnesota. He's scheduled to play six innings in the outfield Friday night. Plans are for him to be designated hitter Saturday and play the outfield again Sunday.

"Everything feels good,'' an upbeat Hamilton said. "It's scaring me a little bit.''

Hamilton leads the majors with a .361 average. He has 31 home runs and 97 RBIs.

Hamilton said he is excited about being able to play again. He took 60 swings in the batting cage Thursday without any pain, including 30 pitches from hitting coach Clint Hurdle after 30 soft tosses.

Washington said the plan is for Hamilton to be the designated hitter Saturday and play in the field again Sunday in the regular-season finale.

The Rangers open the playoffs Wednesday on the road against either Tampa Bay or the New York Yankees.

Murphy left Wednesday's 6-5 victory over Seattle. He reached base on an error in the second inning, and aggravated his groin running to second base when a ball was fouled off.

"It was sore when I woke up,'' Murphy said. "But I can move around. I'm going to rest it a few days and see how it feels. I'm going to do everything I possibly can to be out there. I'm thankful it happened a week before the playoffs and not on the last day of the regular season."

Murphy, hitting .291 with 12 homers and 65 RBIs in 138 games, said he was told to rest for a couple of days before trying to test his groin. He described it as a mild strain. He has hit .357 over his last 24 games.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.