Josh Hamilton's balky knee has proved to a be a hindrance for the outfielder since he rejoined the Texas Rangers earlier this season, but it might finally be a thing of the past.
On Monday, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News pointed out that Hamilton, who had surgery on his left knee just a few weeks ago, has reacted well to regular playing time over the past couple of days. Hamilton followed up an eight-inning outfield stint on Saturday with another on Monday against the Detroit Tigers.
Grant notes that Hamilton reported no ill effects after spending two games in the outfield, and could assume a bigger role for this final week. Texas will face four left-handed pitchers in those six remaining games, but manager Jeff Banister hinted that Hamilton might play against anyone if he's deemed fully healthy: "I think a healthy Josh Hamilton can play a significant role for us," Banister told Grant. "I don't want to know how he is limited at this point; I want to know what he can do. I would not say he is a platoon player if he's healthy, but we've got to get the healthy party first. We are going to continue to play it day by day and see how he is feeling."
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Texas is looking to hold on to its perilous lead in the AL West in hopes of clinching the division later this week, and a healthy and productive Hamilton would be a benefit. Also, it'd allow the club to get Mike Napoli away from left field, where he's been experimenting lately (with mostly rough results).