Rangers' Hamilton eager to return; says he's 'good to go'

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Josh Hamilton is ready to return to the major leagues, even at less than 100 percent.
 
Sidelined since June 4 with a strained left hamstring, Hamilton proclaimed himself "good to go" Monday. The outfielder expects to be activated from the disabled list by the Texas Rangers on Tuesday.
 
Hamilton was with the Rangers on Monday, but was told he would be sitting out the opener of a four-game series against the Orioles.
 
"They wanted to give me a recovery day after travelling, so I'm on board with that," he said.
 
It's been a trying year for Hamilton, who started the year with the Los Angeles Angels on the disabled list, recovering from shoulder surgery. He was traded to Texas in April and finally returned from the disabled list on May 25, only to play in seven games before hurting his hamstring.
 
Thus, his willingness to return to center field despite operating at less than peak efficiency.
 
"Right now it's comfortable to a certain extent," Hamilton said.  "I think for me, the biggest thing is going into the All-Star break playing a few games under control -- whether it be 80 or 85 percent -- then getting a few days' rest. Then coming back and getting after it for the second half."
 
During his brief stint in the last week of May, Hamilton hit .273 with two doubles, two homers and five RBIs. He's itching for more, although he concedes that he likely won't be an everyday player until after the All-Star break.
 
Hamilton has been taking instruction from manager Jeff Banister and advice from teammate Adrian Beltre, who's dealt with injuries to both hamstrings during his lengthy career.
 
"The ultimate goal is having me for the long haul," Hamilton said. "I want to be back and I want to play every day. But listening to guys who have been through hamstrings, they're telling me to ease back into it until you get back to where you want to be."
 
Hamilton worked out the hamstring Monday, an exercise that helped the recovery process and enabled him to bide his time.
 
"I know he is anxious to come back and he loves to play this game," Banister said, adding the before the injury, "I noticed how much fun he was having, not just playing but in the clubhouse and on the field with the guys. It's a special bond."

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