Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter and a top AL MVP candidate, has two fractured ribs but has not been ruled out for the season.
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The injury was revealed Tuesday. Hamilton has not played for the AL West-leading Rangers since crashing into a wall while making a catch Sept. 4 at Minnesota. The outfielder had already been dealing with stiffness in his back when that happened.
Hamilton visited Dr. Robert Watkins in California for the second day in a row Tuesday. Tests found the ”small stable fracture in the seventh and eighth ribs” that two previous X-rays and an MRI did not show on Monday.
General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton was given an anti-inflammatory injection and an epidural nerve-block injection for pain.
”It is typically 48-72 hours before it’s known whether this treatment has the desired effect,” Daniels wrote in an e-mail. ”Once the discomfort recedes to a point where Josh is comfortable, he can return to baseball activities. ”
Hamilton is hitting .361 with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs in 130 games.
It is not clear when Hamilton might play a game for the Rangers, who are trying to wrap up their first division title since 1999. They went into Tuesday night’s game at the Los Angeles Angels with an eight-game lead over Oakland with 13 regular-season games to play.
Hamilton had two cortisone shots last week to help relieve pain in his ribs. Those shots came a day after he felt recurring pain when taking some swings in the batting cage.
Manager Ron Washington said Monday that he figured the slugger would need 25-30 at-bats to get back into his groove.
But Washington added that if Hamilton didn’t that many at-bats before the end of the regular season, ”then he’s just going to have to figure it out in the playoffs.”