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The Texas Rangers haven't scored more than five runs in any of their last ten games, averaging 2.8 runs during that stretch. So if there's anything more welcome than one of their sluggers returning from the disabled list, it's two of them coming back from the disabled list on the same day. The Rangers activated Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz on Monday, significantly upgrading 22 percent of their lineup.
It may be that the Rangers are evaluating whether Endy Chavez's hamstring issue is such that he will need to be placed on the 15 day disabled list. Mitch Moreland, as well, has been having hamstring issues, and it could be that the Rangers may need to make a move with him. Chris Davis and Craig Gentry are the other two likely candidates to be optioned to make room for Hamilton and Cruz.
After losing Hamilton, the Rangers went 15-21. While that can't be completely attributed to losing last year's MVP, his return along with Cruz's gives the Rangers the lineup with which they started the season, and that team was almost unbeatable. Cruz was off to a bit of a slow start before his injury, hitting .219/.303/.438 over 105 at-bats, while Hamilton hit .333/.409/.462 in 38 at-bats before his fateful scramble towards home.
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton hasn't played in a game since fracturing his humerus while sliding into home on April 12. He was initially given a 6-8 week timeline, and his recovery has gone very smoothly, to the point at which the end of the road has become clearly visible. As Jeff Wilson writes, Hamilton could begin a brief rehab assignment in the minors in just a few days:
Reigning league MVP Josh Hamilton could start a rehab assignment as early as Wednesday if he continues to progress in his recovery from a broke right humerus (upper arm) bone. He will have a CT scan Wednesday, and will be in the Frisco lineup that night if cleared by Dr. Keith Meister. He will serve as the designated hitter throughout his rehab stint, which will run through at least next Sunday.
If all goes well, Hamilton could return to the Rangers next week, which would be welcome news for a struggling team currently playing without all three of its regular outfielders. Nelson Cruz and Julio Borbon are also currently on the disabled list (although, like Hamilton, Cruz is about to begin a rehab assignment, and should return even sooner).
The Texas Rangers have been in a bit of a free fall since losing outfielder Josh Hamilton to a broken humerus on April 12. Obviously, you can't blame all the losses on Hamilton's absence ... but it sure hasn't helped. But while the original estimates had Hamilton missing six to eight weeks, it looks like the All-Star is trying to beat even the best-case scenario. From Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News:
Josh Hamilton plans on taking batting practice with Rangers on Friday...
...Rangers have not officially signed off on Josh Hamilton taking BP on Friday, but that is his plan and hope. Rangers haven't ruled it out.
The Rangers are likely playing it safe with their star player, while Hamilton is probably pacing back and forth like a caged animal as you read this. Still, the idea that Hamilton is ready for any sort of baseball activity is good news for Texas.
It was back on April 12 that Rangers superstar Josh Hamilton injured himself sliding into home plate. The initial timeline for his return from a fractured humerus was 6-8 weeks, and now, just over three weeks later, Hamilton says he's only 2-3 weeks away.
"Two to three weeks," Hamilton said. "The biggest thing is just letting the bone heal. That's what is holding me back. Physically, running around and throwing is fine."
Hamilton's lately been taking some light swings that've gone incident-free, so he's clearly getting closer. And that has to be a great relief for Rangers fans who've watched their team lose 14 of its last 22 games. With Hamilton, the lineup posted an OPS of .848. Since Hamilton's injury, the lineup's posted an OPS of .732. That isn't all explained by Hamilton's absence, of course, but he's left a gaping hole that David Murphy simply couldn't be expected to fill.
Texas Rangers MVP outfielder Josh Hamilton will resume some baseball-related activities on Wednesday, as Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star-Telegram notes that Hamilton will begin swinging a bat at a ball on a tee. Or, as the kids call it these days, "hitting against Barry Zito."
Hamilton sustained a fracture of his humerus bone while trying to score on a wild pitch that didn't bounce too far away from home plate on April 12. He was expected to be out for six to eight weeks, and it looks like that's still the schedule.
Even without Hamilton, the Rangers have fared quite well offensively, with Chris Davis, Mike Napoli, and David Murphy all getting extra at-bats in the place of Hamilton. The Rangers' team OPS+ is 116, and they're tied with the Cleveland Indians for the league lead in scoring, but surely they're eager to get Hamilton back in the lineup.
He said he hadn't spoke to third-base coach Dave Anderson, and hasn't changed his tune on the decision to try to score on a foul popup just to the left of the infield. He's aware that he essentially threw Anderson under the bus, but said he was just explaining the situation. "Dumb," he said. "People are going to blame who they want to blame. I threw him under the bus by telling the truth about what happened."
The initial reaction from Hamilton was first seen as an injury-prone player blowing off steam after suffering yet another serious injury, but it's clear that Hamilton still sees something fundamentally wrong with the decision to tag up. It was an aggressive play, though some might argue that the real unnecessary risk came from Hamilton's head-first slide.
We already knew about Josh Hamilton's injury. What we didn't know was the severity. Now we know the severity. It's bad news.
According to general manager Jon Daniels, Hamilton has a non-displaced fracture of the humerus bone near his right shoulder. The injury is expected to sideline Hamilton for the next 6-8 weeks, and while it's anticipated that he should be just fine with no lingering effects after that, we're talking about perhaps two months that the Rangers will have to play without their best player. The AL West door is open wider today than it was yesterday.
Hamilton was injured attempting this head-first slide into home plate:
After the game, Hamilton said it was a stupid play, and that he was only going off his third base coach's instruction. Hamilton wanted to remain at third base, but was told to break for home. While Hamilton was presumably speaking out of frustration, it's hard not to take his side, given what wound up happening.
Hamilton has missed significant time over the course of his big league career due to injuries, and this one just adds to the long list. While he's out, David Murphy will pick up the bulk of the available playing time. Chris Davis has been recalled from AAA to fill Hamilton's roster spot.
Hamilton broke for home from third on a pop-up when the Tigers didn't have anybody covering the plate. Victor Martinez sprinted over to apply a tag, and as Hamilton dove to avoid Martinez's glove, he hit the ground and hurt himself, getting up holding his back. Hamilton went at the urging of his third base coach, and wasn't too pleased after the game:
"It was just a stupid play," Hamilton said. "I definitely shouldn't have done it. They had a good angle to cut me off where I was going. It was a little too aggressive. The whole time I was watching the play and I was listening. I was like, 'Dude, I don't want to go. Something is going to happen.' But I listened to my coach and I went."
The good news is that preliminary x-rays on Hamilton's shoulder have ruled out a separation or a dislocation, but Hamilton says he heard two pops as he slid, and we probably won't know the severity of his injury until MRI results are revealed Wednesday morning. After the game, Hamilton was wearing a sling.
Hamilton was already scheduled to get the day off on Wednesday, and the Rangers don't play Thursday. However, if his injury is bad enough that he has to go on the DL, expect the Rangers to recall either Craig Gentry or Chris Davis from the minors.