SAN DIEGO -- Roy Oswalt could be in a Texas Rangers uniform by this weekend, and Scott Feldman could learn Wednesday if he will be back in the bullpen.If he does resume his spot as the Rangers' long reliever, he will do so on a high note.Feldman can finally call himself a winner this season after he allowed two runs in six innings Tuesday night and got early offensive support from Josh Hamilton in a 7-3 victory over San Diego.The Rangers have won five consecutive games, and their lead in the American League West held at five games over Anaheim. The Rangers will go for their second straight three-game sweep Wednesday afternoon at Petco Park.Wednesday could also be when the Rangers determine how they will go forward with their rotation. Oswalt could join them as soon as Friday, and rookie Justin Grimm could continue to hold down a rotation spot until Derek Holland is ready to return.Feldman could be Holland's replacement, too, despite a need for him in the injury-plagued bullpen. On Tuesday, though, he was preparing as though he would be starting again next week.It was better, said Feldman, who was making his sixth start as the replacement for Neftali Feliz. I still think that it can get better. I got through six innings, which I hadn't done that. Hopefully, next time it will be seven.Feldman (1-6) had command of all of his pitches as he yielded seven singles and didn't walk a batter for the second straight start. He struck out five Padres, including Nick Hundley for his final out.But Feldman and the Rangers were in a 1-0 hole after Hundley singled home Everth Cabrera in the second inning. The Rangers, though, responded in the third as Hamilton got the offense rolling in his first start since Thursday.He delivered a two-run triple and quickly scored on a shallow sacrifice fly from Adrian Beltre. Hamilton would single to start a three-run sixth that included doubles by Beltre and Cruz and an RBI single by Feldman.That was fun, said Feldman, who drove in the first run of his career.Hamilton hasn't fully recovered from the intestinal virus that sent him to the hospital over the weekend. He stood with his hands on his knees at third base gasping for air after his first triple of the season.It took me about three innings to recover from that, he said. Beltre added a solo homer in the seventh as part of a 3-for-4 game, and he, Hamilton and Cruz had two RBIs apiece. The Rangers collected 12 hits, but the Hamilton triple got them going.From that point, swinging the bat got contagious through the lineup, said manager Ron Washington, who saw Hamilton sapped of some energy. He felt it. The way he ran around there tonight, you're going to feel it a little. But it wasn't anything he can't handle.While the Rangers got Hamilton back, they could be without Mitch Moreland for an extended period. The first baseman suffered a strained left hamstring in the second inning as he tried to beat out the back end of an inning-ending double play.Moreland will undergo an MRI exam Wednesday and visit Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday to determine how much time he will miss. The Rangers likely will use a combination of Mike Napoli, Michael Young and Brandon Snyder to hold down first base if Moreland is forced to the disabled list.We'll figure out a way to handle first base, Washington said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760