Texas Rangers

Hamilton early to Rangers camp despite achy knee

Josh Hamilton did all baseball activities Tuesday at the Surprise Recreation Campus even though his left knee has started barking again.
Josh Hamilton did all baseball activities Tuesday at the Surprise Recreation Campus even though his left knee has started barking again. Star-Telegram

Good news was found Tuesday morning at the Surprise Recreation Campus as Josh Hamilton was in camp a week before position players are due to report and did everything an able-bodied major-league outfielder should do.

The 2010 American League MVP stretched, threw, shagged flyballs, hit and even ran the bases.

Now for the not-so-good news: His left knee is starting to bark again after the effects of a January anti-inflammatory shot, administered by team physician Dr. Keith Meister, wore off.

The pain isn’t unbearable, at least not yet, and Hamilton plans to do the work necessary to have him ready to go for Opening Day. While it’s not yet a major cause of concern, Hamilton is searching for answers.

“We’ll hit it with treatment and see if it responds to being active every day. Hopefully it does,” said Hamilton, who arrived in Arizona on Sunday. “I’m not really worrying about it. I ran some bases today. It seems like the more I do on it, the better it feels.

“I think Doc said it was inflammation of the capsule. I’m wondering why, 2  1/2 weeks later, it started happening again. Is this going to be an ongoing thing? Is this not going to be an ongoing thing? I have those questions, too.”

So do the Rangers, who have come to the realization that Hamilton can’t be counted on as an everyday player. They want him to tread lightly this spring, something that has never been a Hamilton strong suit.

But Hamilton admitted that he is no longer a spring chicken as he approaches 35 and after 15 surgeries on various body parts during his All-Star career. His willing to do whatever this spring to be whatever his 100 percent is on April 4.

“ I want to use this spring to the best of my ability to get ready for when it counts,” Hamilton said. “I’m trying to listen to them and tell them how I feel, and see what they’ve got going on and just not push it because it doesn’t count. But I’ve never had that mentality. It’s always been just go, go go. So, it’s a new challenge for me.”

Despite the lingering issues after an October clean-up, his second in a month, Hamilton believes that he is on schedule for the first full-squad workout Feb. 24. Pitchers and catchers report Thursday and have their first workout Friday.

He missed spring training last year after being locked out of camp by the Los Angeles Angels after a admitting to a relapse with drugs and alcohol, and then crammed six weeks of spring training into four to get ready for the season after an April trade to the Rangers.

Hamilton knows the importance of spring training, and plans to take advantage of it as long as his knee cooperates.

“I’m not behind,” he said. “I feel like I’m in good shape. I’ve been able to do all my leg stuff and really work this off-season. I’m not behind as far as strength or anything.

“I’m not looking at just showing up and doing a little something and leaving,” Hamilton said. “Hell, it’s doing to be a full day, whether it’s all out here [on the field] or some in [the weight room]. I did everything [Tuesday]. It’s just pick your spots on when to do it and when not to do it.”

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