Rangers' OF Josh Hamilton steps up baseball activity in recovery from broken ribs

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is stepping up his baseball activity in an effort to get back in the lineup before the playoffs.

Hamilton took 25 swings off a tee, ran hard in the outfield, and shagged fly balls prior to Monday night's game against the Seattle Mariners.

Hamilton has been out since Sept. 4 with two fractured ribs and muscle spasms in his right side, and he reported no discomfort after Monday's session.

Until Monday, Hamilton was able to do very little except take one-handed swings with a short bat and pedal a stationary bike.

Next up for Hamilton is to take a regular batting practice, then get into a game.

The AL West-champion Rangers are anxious to have Hamilton on their playoff roster. Despite missing 23 straight games, Hamilton still leads the majors with a .361 average and has 31 homers and 97 RBIs.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Hamilton has been moving better, but he doesn't know when he can pencil Hamilton into the lineup.

"Until I see him out there swinging and doing all his activities, I don't know," Washington said.

Right-hander Frank Francisco, trying to come back from a muscle strain in his right side that sent him to the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 28, will throw in the bullpen on Tuesday.

Francisco said his side feels fine after back-to-back throwing sessions in the outfield over the weekend.

But Washington said Francisco is a long shot for the postseason roster, at least for the first round. Washington said Francisco needs to throw hard in a game to show he's recovered.

"Frankie's got to be able to compete, got to be able to get on the mound, got to be able to let it go, got to be able to do a lot," Washington said. "Miracles happen, but I just don't see it the first time around (first round of the playoffs)."