Rangers’ Hamilton rests for 1st time since HR tear
The Texas Rangers were set for a rare weekday afternoon sellout,
fueled by thousands of schoolchildren getting a break from their
Manager Ron Washington figures the kids would like to see Josh
Hamilton in October, too, so he sat Hamilton and stuck with his
plan to rest his key starters.
Hamilton was out of Thursday’s starting lineup against Oakland,
his first absence since a hot streak that vaulted him to the major
league lead in all three Triple Crown categories. He was the last
of five Rangers players to sit during a four-game stretch that
ended against the A’s.
”It was as simple as it was to give the rest of them a day
off,” Washington said. ”Those are the guys that’s going to take
us where we have to go.”
The crowd of 47,182 did get a chance to see Hamilton when he
appeared as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. He grounded out,
then replaced Craig Gentry in center field in the ninth. He ended
up making the first out in the eighth and 10th innings, ending his
AL-best 16-game hitting streak.
The former AL MVP has cooled off some since hitting .467 (14 of
30) with two doubles, nine homers and 18 RBIs over seven games. The
run was sparked by the 16th four-homer game in major league history
May 8 at Baltimore.
Homerless in his past five games, Hamilton is still leading the
AL in average (.399), homers (18) and RBIs (45).
During a pair of two-game series against Kansas City and
Oakland, Rangers manager Ron Washington has already rested Ian
Kinsler, Michael Young, Mike Napoli and Nelson Cruz. The Rangers
were swept by the Royals but had a chance to sweep the A’s on
Texas is in the middle of a stretch of 20 games in 20 days. The
Rangers got a break with a rainout in Baltimore last week, but had
to play a doubleheader the next day. Their next scheduled off day
is May 24.
”I’m not used to days off,” said Young, who sat Wednesday and
was the DH in Hamilton’s traditional third spot in the order
Thursday. ”I like to get out there every day. But rest if always a
Hamilton, who didn’t appear in the clubhouse when it was open to
reporters before Thursday’s game, left early April 29 against Tampa
Bay because of back spasms. He missed the next three games at
Toronto, but his absence appeared precautionary because the Rangers
were playing a rare series on artificial turf.
The four-time All-Star played only 89 games in 2009 because of
an abdominal tear and a pinched nerve in his back. He missed a
month of his MVP season in 2010 with broken ribs after crashing
into an outfield wall making a catch. He was out six weeks last
year after he broke a bone in his arm diving headfirst trying to
score on a foul popout, and had surgery for a sports hernia after
the World Series.
Hamilton led the AL with 130 RBIs in 2008, his first season with
the Rangers. He led the league with a .359 average in 2010, when
the Rangers won their first AL pennant.