Josh Hamilton starts rehab stint

Updated: May 19, 2011, 8:21 PM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

The Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, began a minor league rehab assignment in Double-A Frisco on Wednesday night.

Hamilton homered and had an infield single in the game. He didn't have a homer in his 11 games this season with the Rangers, but he hit an opposite-field, two-run shot to left as the designated hitter for Frisco in the third inning of an 8-7 win over Midland. Hamilton finished the night 2-for-4 with a groundout and a flyout in his other at-bats.

"My first at-bat (a groundout), I was a little jumpy. I was a little nervous because I haven't hit in so long," Hamilton said. "I came in my second at-bat, I got out in front of a two-seamer away a little bit. I still got through the ball, didn't pull off."

He said his timing was OK -- "I'm glad it's where it is, it could have been a lot worse," he said -- and that he had no issues with his injured arm.

"I felt it more in my lower back and foot from standing in cleats for four hours," Hamilton said. "I've been running bases in cleats for a while, but just standing around is hard."

Hamilton, who went on the disabled list right after he suffered a hairline fracture in a bone in his upper arm on April 12, was expected to play in Frisco as the designated hitter again on Thursday. He then will head to Triple-A Round Rock to continue his rehab for three more games.

"For the next five games, yes, I want to be careful before I get back," Hamilton said Wednesday before batting practice at Frisco. "If I get on first, I'm not going to get much of a lead. I'm not going to be diving back, and I'm not doing any stolen bases."

Hamilton returned from the club's road trip Tuesday night and had a CT scan on his upper arm and shoulder. He was examined by Rangers physician Dr. Keith Meister and the scan showed "significant healing," according to the club's release.

"It's a little extra comfort to get the CT scan today and see that it's healed up pretty good," Hamilton said prior to stretching and taking batting practice Wednesday. "I'm ready to go. I've been champing at the bit for a while the last couple of weeks and now I get to get a little game action and hopefully work on my timing and get it back pretty quick."

Hamilton was hurt trying to score with a headfirst slide into home. The slugger made a daring dash to an uncovered plate on a foul popout after being told to go by third-base coach Dave Anderson.

After initially calling the play "stupid" and saying he ran because he was told to, Hamilton later met with Anderson and tried publicly to clarify what he meant -- that he was disappointed about being hurt -- and that he didn't blame the coach for getting hurt.

"I don't hate the way I got hurt. I could have been smarter and not gone, but I appreciate Dave's confidence in my ability to make it," Hamilton reiterated Wednesday. "Could I have slid in feet-first? Yes, but I wouldn't have made it."

When Hamilton got hurt, the Rangers said he would be out six to eight weeks, and wouldn't swing a bat for about a month.

Hamilton resumed taking batting practice with the Rangers on Friday, a month and a day after he got hurt. The Rangers' game Tuesday will be six weeks after the injury.

"The frustration wears off the more times you do it," he said. "Now I call it eagerness to get back there."

Hamilton said that while it's been challenging to sit in the dugout and not be able to help his team on the field, he's found a way to deal with it and focus on the recovery.

"I hate to say it, but I've learned because I have been injured quite a few times that I can't rush anything and that I can't do anything about being hurt," Hamilton said. "But I can do something about having a good attitude and being supportive of my teammates, being in the dugout and bugging them and keeping their morale up. That's exactly what I've done."

Hamilton was batting .333 with seven RBIs in 11 games at the time of his injury and had an eight-game hitting streak.

Hamilton is in the same lineup with Nelson Cruz, who has been at Frisco since Monday on rehab for a strained right quadriceps muscle.

Cruz, who was in the field Wednesday night after two games as the DH, could rejoin the Rangers this weekend in Philadelphia. He went 0-for-4 Wednesday in the third game at Frisco in his rehab for a strained right quadriceps muscle.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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