Josh Hamilton is batting .444 with two homers and six RBI.
Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will be sidelined for six-to-eight weeks because of a torn ligament in his left thumb.
The 2010 AL MVP was injured during Tuesday night’s game against Seattle during a headfirst slide into first base in the seventh inning. He remained in the game but struggled with throwing balls and gripping his bat. Ian Stewart pinch hit for Hamilton in the ninth and struck out with the potential tying run on base in a 5-3 loss.
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”The news sucks. Anytime you play and you’re playing hard and having fun, the last thing you want to do is do something that is going to cause you to miss time and maybe hurt your team in the long run,” Hamilton said Wednesday. ”If I could see the future, obviously, I wouldn’t do it.”
Los Angeles said an MRI Wednesday revealed a complete tear of the thumb’s ulnar collateral ligament. After initially saying hand and wrist specialist Dr. Steven Shin would operate at Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedics in Los Angeles, the Angels said Hamilton will be examined by Shin on Friday to determine whether surgery is needed.
Hamilton was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and outfielder J.B. Shuck was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake. Hamilton said he believed it was just a jammed thumb, but when he tried throwing in the outfield between innings he knew something might be wrong.
Hamilton told manager Mike Scioscia to have someone pinch hit for him in the ninth.
”I came down underneath and swung the bat a few times and just didn’t have what I wanted to have going up there,” Hamilton said.
Speaking after Tuesday’s game, Mike Scioscia didn’t seem to have a problem with Hamilton sliding headfirst.
”It’s part of his instinct to get to a base,” Scioscia said. ”Sometimes you just react to a situation. It’s just competitive nature, and Josh plays hard.”
A five-time All-Star, Hamilton has struggled since signing a $125 million, five-year contract with the Angels before the 2013 season. He hit a career-low .250 last year with 21 homers and 79 RBIs, his poorest power numbers since 2009. He was batting .207 with 25 RBIs through June 23, then hit .289 with 54 RBIs during the rest of the season.
Hamilton strained a calf muscle during a baserunning drill on Feb. 25 and didn’t play in his first spring training game until March 17. He is hitting .444 with two homers and six RBIs in 27 at-bats this season.
Hamilton believes he can still keep his timing down with his swing even while he’s sidelined.
”Disappointing in general that you’ve got to miss some time, because as a player you prepare the whole offseason to come in and do what you can to help contribute to your team winning ballgames,” Hamilton said. ”That’s the most disappointing part of the injury.”