Josh Hamilton’s exact return to the Texas Rangers hasn’t been decided, but it’s not because he’s not ready.
Hamilton, 33, who has been on a rehab assignment in the minors since being traded from the Angels to the Rangers on April 27, continued to swing a hot bat Tuesday night. He went 3 for 3 with a double in Double A Frisco’s 15-7 win against Midland.
Hamilton, who left the game after the fifth inning, will play again with the RoughRiders at 11 a.m. Wednesday and his status will reevaluated. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton is expected to join the team either in New York this weekend or Monday in Cleveland.
“I’m going to go with what they want me to do,” Hamilton said. “I’m good with whatever. I’ve waited long enough, what’s four or five more days.”
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Hamilton said his swing and timing feel ready for the big leagues, but he’s still working to get his stamina up to speed. He had a day off Monday. He left Tuesday’s game after a single in the fifth inning. He walked in his first at-bat and scored on Joey Gallo’s three-run homer. Hamilton scored again after a double in the third when Gallo had an inside-the-park homer after Midland’s left fielder lost his fly ball in the lights. Hamilton added two more singles in the fourth and fifth. Gallo was 3 for 4 with five RBIs through six innings.
The fifth-inning single came against left-hander Sean Doolittle, a major leaguer on his own rehab assignment. Hamilton hit a hard chopper that hit off the first baseman’s glove.
If the Rangers decide Hamilton needs a few more days before his return to the big leagues, he’d likely head back to Triple A Round Rock.
Hamilton, after returning to the clubhouse in the sixth, asked whether the Rangers had won. They lost to Boston 4-3.
He said he’s “close” to feeling ready to join them.
“I still need to get some innings, get my legs under me. They’re pretty sore. I had a day off Monday and days off suck because you’re even more sore the next day because you weren’t active,” he said. “[My] swing, timing, all that stuff feels good.”
Because of recent bad weather, Hamilton hasn’t had much time to work on fly balls. In the third inning, he misplayed a ball in center field after losing it in the lights.
“[I’m still working on] depth perception and getting your reads off the bat and haven’t had a chance to do that because we haven’t had batting practice,” he said.
Where does he expect to play for the Rangers?
“I have no clue. Can you find out for me?” he joked. “I don’t care. It’s fine. Anywhere. I’m just happy to be here.”