Stars from both teams downplay injuries

BY foxsports • October 18, 2011

The Wednesday evening forecast here calls for temperatures in the high 40s and a chance of rain.

The conditions won’t be ideal for Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton to play through a groin injury, or Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter to keep his sore right elbow warm. But both are expected to play. It is, after all, Game 1 of the World Series.

Hamilton batted .293 during the American League playoffs but hasn’t homered in his last 14 games, regular season and postseason. He said Tuesday that he’s been playing through the groin injury for two months. (He still maintained an .868 OPS in the second half.)

“This doesn’t need to be a big thing or big deal,” said Hamilton, who went just 2-for-20 against the Giants in the World Series last year. “I’m playing with it. I’ve played with it for it for two months. It is what it is. It hurts. There’s not much more you can tell.”

Said Texas reliever Mike Adams: “We see him every day. We know what he’s going through. A lot of people are going through a lot of stuff right now. His has been more under the microscope because he’s Josh. But there’s a lot of guys on this team that are pretty banged up — hitters, pitchers. At this time of the year, if you have enough to go out there, you go out there. Josh is one of those guys, you’d have to chop his leg off to get him off the field.”

Hamilton said he doesn’t plan to alter his treatment regimen because of the conditions.

“I’m going to approach it like any other day, stick to my routine, do what I need to do to warm it up, get it loose and go play,” Hamilton said. “In the outfield, you’re standing around, standing around, and then you gotta go.”

He paused.

“At the most,” he added with a smile, “seven more games.”

Hamilton and the Rangers will oppose Carpenter, less than two weeks after the right-hander’s stirring shutout victory over Roy Halladay and the Phillies to clinch the National League Division Series. But Carpenter was limited to five innings and 89 pitches in his only start since, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that he’s suffering from inflammation and swelling in his right elbow.

Carpenter, who led the NL with 237 1/3 innings during the regular season, acknowledged Tuesday that he has received treatment on the elbow. He insisted that he’s “fine.” St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said effectively the same thing, adding that he wouldn’t allow Carpenter to pitch unless he was sound. “He put his hand on the Bible the other day with the trainers and the doctor, and they all feel he’s good to go,” La Russa said.

Gerald Laird, the St. Louis backup catcher, said Carpenter’s elbow issue is “nothing new,” adding, “He’s always in good shape. He has his routines. He does a really good job to make sure he makes every start. I don’t see it affecting him out there. He’s a gamer. I’m glad he’s on our side.”

Any question about whether he’ll make the start on Wednesday?

“No doubt in my mind,” Laird said. “He’ll be out there with the ball in his hand, ready to go, and pitch a good ballgame.”

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