Hamilton slowed by tightness in glute
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton still wants to get back on the field, though he has been slowed in his comeback and acknowledged that it is possible he won't play again this season.
Hamilton was out of the lineup for the 12th consecutive game Wednesday because of a pinched nerve in his back, and has been bothered by related tightness in his right glute. The All-Star outfielder said he planned to take a break from baseball activity for a couple of days to see if that helps.
"There's always a possibility that I'm not counting on, not playing," Hamilton said, taking a long, deliberate pause before answering the question on if his season might be over.
All-Star third baseman Michael Young, who batted once Tuesday after missing 11 games with a strained left hamstring, said it was possible he would return this weekend against the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels.
Young pulled himself out of the game against Oakland after his only at-bat, when he flied out in the first inning after fouling off three of the eight pitches he faced. Young got off-balance on one of the swings and felt the hamstring again.
"There's really no big setbacks," Young said. "But the one thing I have learned about this thing is it is really a day-to-day thing. Monday, I had no idea. I tried to play [Tuesday], it felt good enough and I went for it."
Young got hurt running out a grounder on Sept. 1, and had repeatedly said since that the series against the Angels was his target date for returning. Young said that he was hitting in the cage, throwing and doing agility work Wednesday.
The Rangers also said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will have surgery next week for thoracic outlet syndrome, a problem in the shoulder that is the likely cause of the numbness in his throwing hand.
Saltalamacchia hasn't played in the field since Aug. 14. His only action in that span was as a designated hitter Sept. 5 at Baltimore, which came three days after he was activated from the disabled list.
Hamilton, who last played Sept. 2, received two more injections in his back last weekend, an epidural for the pinched nerve and a cortisone shot for the inflammation. He had received two earlier injections that didn't ease the pain.
The problem for Hamilton comes when he lands on his front (left) leg hitting or throwing. He hit off a tee for the second consecutive day Wednesday, and took some other swings, and expects to be re-evaluated Friday.
"We're going to see if we can get my glute to calm down a little bit because I don't want to end up right back where I was," Hamilton said. "The shots did their job as far as calming it down, but baseball activity wise is still giving me a little, not pain, but tightness. But the tightness will lead to pain if I continue."
Hamilton was on the disabled list twice earlier this season after crashing into outfield walls making catches. He is hitting .270 with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 87 games, down from his breakthrough season with Texas last year, when he hit .304 with 32 homers and an AL-high 130 RBIs.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press
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