Josh Hamilton will undergo surgery on his left knee Friday morning in Arlington after weeks of rest and treatment were unable to get him back in the Texas Rangers’ lineup.
Even though he is having surgery, the Rangers haven’t ruled out a return this season.
Dr. Keith Meister will perform the procedure, which the Rangers are calling a “cleanup.” Hamilton was on the disabled list last month with what he called a bone bruise after the knee took the brunt of compensating for other leg issues.
Hamilton hasn’t started a game in the outfield since Aug. 15.
2 At-bats for Josh Hamilton, both as a pinch hitter, since he was activated from the disabled list Sept. 1
“As it sits right now, it’s a simple cleanup,” manager Jeff Banister said. “How Josh’s body responds to it, we’re not ruling out that he’ll be available to us the rest of the way. That hasn’t been ruled out.”
Hamilton had been limited to two pinch-hitting opportunities since being activated from the disabled list Sept. 1. He said earlier this week that the knee begins to bother him the moment he puts weight on it each morning.
“I know he was in pain,” Banister said. “This is a tough guy. He’s really tried to gut out a lot of stuff for us. Unfortunately, this one was too much for him.”
Hamels vs. Astros
The Rangers officially bumped left-hander Cole Hamels to Monday for the opener of a four-game series against division-leading Houston, inserting rookie Chi Chi Gonzalez into the rotation Sunday.
The thought of moving Hamels to Monday — and also lining him up for the three-game series at Houston on Sept. 25-27 and a potential play-in game, wild-card game or division-series opener — had been on paper for about a month.
But Banister said that the Rangers wanted to evaluate which spot starter would give them the best option.
Gonzalez started Wednesday for Triple A Round Rock but was lifted after only two innings and 17 pitches.
He got Nick Martinez’s spot after a strong finish at Round Rock, going 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in August even though opponents batted .302 against him in August. Gonzalez also showed a greater velocity difference between his fastball and off-speed pitches.
He lost both starts this season against Oakland, but they were in June.
“It’s a different ballclub,” Banister said.
Every starter will get an extra day’s rest, a late-season benefit that Banister called “huge,” but the biggest perk is Hamels facing the Astros twice. The Rangers will start Hamels, Martin Perez, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis in the four games at Globe Life Park.
“I’m glad,” Banister said. “It’s good. That’s the way we wanted it. This is why we got him.”
The Rangers have won the past five games that Hamels has started.
The knee injury to Delino DeShields gave Will Venable another start in center field Thursday and Joey Gallo another start in left field after taking advantage of an opportunity Tuesday against a right-hander.
Gallo went 2 for 4 with a single and a homer, and he was robbed of another hit. That was against Tijuan Walker, though. On Thursday, he had to face Felix Hernandez.
“The guy today’s supposed to be pretty good, I think,” Gallo joked.
A lot of good came out of Tuesday for Gallo, including Banister having confidence in him. Gallo said he was also able to repeat his mechanics Wednesday in the cages and during batting practice.
“It was probably the best day of having good overall swing since I’ve been up here the first time,” said Gallo, who is adjusting to playing off the bench for the first time as a pro. “It was good to have a game like that and hit some balls hard. I could build some momentum and some confidence.”