Manager: Ailing Hamilton could return this week

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Rangers manager Ron Washington plans to have outfielder Josh Hamilton back in Texas' lineup within the next few days.

The two-time All-Star center fielder, recovering from abdominal surgery, played a doubleheader with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Sunday in a minor league rehab assignment, going 2 for 7 in the two games, including a triple, double and stolen base.

Hamilton is expected to be back with the Rangers during a three-game road series with the Los Angeles Angels that gets under way Monday night.

Hamilton went 4 for 27 in six minor league games, including one with Double-A Frisco. He was aiming to rejoin the Rangers on Saturday or Sunday, but the club wanted him to play in another game in the outfield, which Hamilton did in the opener of the doubleheader. Hamilton was the DH in the second game.

Hamilton went on the disabled list June 2 and had abdominal surgery a week later. He was injured when he smacked into an outfield wall while making a catch on May 17. That came less than a week after coming off an earlier stay on the DL due to a strained ribcage muscle from another collision with an outfield wall on another catch.

Hamilton, who hit .304 with 32 homers and an AL-high 130 RBIs last season, is batting .240 with six homers and 24 RBIs in 35 games this season. Earlier Sunday he learned he'll make his second All-Star appearance.

In his first All-Star trip last year, Hamilton hit a record 28 homers in the first round of the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium, including 13 in a row. Hamilton was voted in as a starter this year and said he'd play if he's healthy. He won't participate in the Home Run Derby, however, honoring a request by Washington.

Hamilton said his health is good.

"The physical part of the rehab is good," Hamilton said in a conference call from Oklahoma City. "I'm trying to do some things with my swing to get back on track. If I wasn't making progress every day, I'd be worried, but it's going good."

Hamilton said he would confer with Washington, Rangers GM Jon Daniels, and the Oklahoma City RedHawks staff before deciding on the next step in his comeback.

Washington said the injury is no longer an issue, but Hamilton might take a little while to regain his timing at the plate.

"He's fully recovered," Washington said. "He's not hurt anymore. He's just trying to get (his game) back together."


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