Hamilton may not return until next week
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton expects to remain out of the Texas Rangers lineup until at least next week even though the slugger's strained left rib cage muscle is feeling better after medication and treatment.
While Hamilton felt better, he cautioned that he had not yet resumed baseball activity.
"I'm good, better," Hamilton said while his teammates took batting practice before Thursday's game against Oakland. "That doesn't mean that if I got in here and swung that I wouldn't be right back to where I was."
Hamilton has been out of the starting lineup since Sunday and hasn't played since pinch-hitting that day. The All-Star center fielder got hurt April 21 when he ran into the outfield wall in Toronto and his elbow folded into the left side of his body.
Asked if he could play this weekend at home against the Chicago White Sox, Hamilton responded, "Probably not." He said the hardest part was just not being able to do anything and indicated the earliest he might play could be Monday or Tuesday in Seattle.
When the Rangers started their homestand Tuesday, Hamilton described his pain as extreme. Team physician Dr. Keith Meister examined Hamilton and started a prescribed treatment of medication.
"My pain is kind of localized around to my back at this point," Hamilton said Thursday.
"He's better today than he was yesterday and he was better yesterday than he was the day before, so that seems to be working," manager Ron Washington said. "We're still going to go day to day. ... He said his ribs are feeling much better, so I'm very pleased with that."
Still, Washington said he won't even consider Hamilton as a pinch-hitter for now.
The Rangers are trying to avoid putting the left-handed slugger on the disabled list. That has been made easier this week with depth in the outfield and Texas scheduled to face left-handed starters in all but one game on the homestand.
Hamilton was a pinch-hitter the day after slamming into the wall, then started three straight games before leaving Saturday's game in the fifth inning. His last action was as a pinch-hitter Sunday, though he tried to take batting practice Monday.
Hamilton, who led the AL with 130 RBIs in 156 games last season, has hit .242 with two homers and 10 RBIs in 18 games this season.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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