Josh Hamilton’s sore left knee has shown little improvement over the past couple of days, with the outfielder missing his fourth consecutive game Wednesday.
He had hoped to return for Thursday’s series opener at Detroit, but now that seems unlikely.
Hamilton appears closer to going on the disabled list, though he and the club are hoping to avoid that move.
Manager Jeff Banister discussed the options with Hamilton before Wednesday’s series finale against the Mariners. They don’t need to make a decision until Thursday, when newly acquired outfielder Will Venable joins the club for a four-game series at Detroit.
The Rangers traded a minor leaguer and a player to be named later to acquire the veteran from the Padres, and Hamilton applauded the move before Wednesday’s game.
“I’m glad they’re taking precautionary steps,” he said.
Hamilton no longer feels confident he’ll be available Thursday — as he did a few days ago. The pain in his knee has not subsided enough, and Hamilton fears that playing on it would set him back.
“If I go out there and play right now, it’s going to be right back where it was four days ago,” he said.
But he also understands the predicament the Rangers are in by playing an outfielder short, at least in Wednesday’s game.
Infielder Hanser Alberto was recalled from Triple A Round Rock and served as the club’s fourth outfielder. Catcher Chris Gimenez has a minor knee infection that leaves him unavailable.
“We’re close to making a decision,” Banister said. “I’m not ready yet to say whether [Hamilton] is a DL candidate. Generally, I don’t do that until that’s necessary.”
If so, Banister said, the Rangers are prepared.
“Kind of like the Boy Scouts,” he said, “we’re prepared.”
Hamilton’s knee was expected to heal faster than a 15-day time period, causing the Rangers to delay putting him on the DL.
“That’s what we’re trying to figure out,” Hamilton said. “What if I go on the DL and then three days from now my knee feels good? Then I’ve got to wait 12 more days to play? Do they keep playing a guy short for a few days and hoping, or do we go to the DL route? That’s the question on everybody’s mind.”
The cortisone shot he received several days ago was ineffective, so Hamilton started using an alternative anti-inflammatory on Tuesday.
Chi Chi optioned
Tuesday’s starter Chi Chi Gonzalez was optioned to Triple A Round Rock before Wednesday’s game to make room for Derek Holland.
Gonzalez will throw a bullpen session with Double A Frisco in Tulsa this week before returning to Round Rock to make a start. He’s had two stints with the Rangers this season and is likely to be recalled September 1.
“They’re happy with my outings,” said Gonzalez, who allowed eight earned runs in 11 2/3 innings during his second stint.
Seven of the eight runs came in two innings, including three in the first Tuesday and four in the second last week at Minnesota.
“I’ve been able to flush it and go on with my work instead of letting it affect me,” he added.
▪ Right-hander Tanner Scheppers (left knee inflammation) was activated from the 15-day DL and optioned to Round Rock.
▪ Designated hitter Prince Fielder was given the day off Wednesday, the first time he’s sat out entirely since June 18 at the Dodgers.
“We like Adam. Not everybody can sit over there on the bench and do what he’s capable of doing — giving you a solid, professional on the field, either defensively or in the batter’s box, without playing consistently. That’s tough to do, and being willing to do it and understanding your role. Plus, he can play all over the diamond. This is one that is tough for all of us.” — Banister on having to designate utility player Adam Rosales prior to Wednesday’s game
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760