Injured Texas Rangers sluggers Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz could be back in the lineup together soon – at Double-A Frisco.
Cruz is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment Monday at Frisco.
”I think I’ll probably have him DH the first two games and then play in the field after that,” manager Ron Washington said Sunday, before the Rangers wrapped up a homestand. ”Because after the first two games, if everything goes well with Ham, he’ll be there.”
Hamilton will travel with the Rangers for their two-game series at the Chicago White Sox to work out with the team. He will return to Texas for an MRI exam Wednesday, when team physician Dr. Keith Meister will determine how the broken bone in the slugger’s upper right arm is healing. He could join Cruz in the Frisco lineup that night.
”When Dr. Meister says he can go, we want to get him out as soon as we can,” Washington said.
Cruz has been out since leaving a game May 3 at Seattle with a strained right quadriceps. Hamilton broke a bone in his upper right arm April 12 on a headfirst slide into home at Detroit.
They could both be back in the Texas lineup together during the next homsteand, which begins a week from Monday.
The Rangers are without their entire opening-day outfield after center fielder Julio Borbon was put on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with inflammation in his left hamstring.
After taking batting practice again Sunday, then staying out for extra swings after the rest of the team had finished, Hamilton smiled and said he felt good.
Cruz tested his leg with more baserunning Sunday before taking BP.
”I don’t feel anything,” Cruz said. ”I feel better today than I did yesterday. I was more loose today.”
Though Cruz is eligible to come off the disabled list Thursday, Washington anticipates him playing all four of Frisco’s home games against Midland before rejoining the Rangers.
That means Cruz could join the team for its first interleague series that begins Friday night in Philadelphia.
”Hopefully, if everything goes well,” Washington said.
When Frisco wraps up its homestand Thursday night, Hamilton is expected to then go to Triple-A Round Rock for a few more games before his possible return to the Rangers lineup.
”Somewhere in the next homestand, if everything goes well,” Washington said. ”But a date, let’s just wait.”
Washington said, however, that he didn’t anticipate Hamilton playing in the very first game of the next homestand after the rehab assignment.