Hamilton returns to Rangers lineup

Hamilton returns to Rangers lineup

Published Sep. 14, 2012 4:50 p.m. ET

ARLINGTON, Texas – Josh Hamilton got a tune-up on his left knee Wednesday night and was back in the starting lineup for the Texas Rangers Friday.

Hamilton got a lubricant injected into his knee after leaving Wednesday's game early because of soreness. It's something Hamilton has done in the past, including spring training this year.

He missed Thursday's game but said Friday the knee was feeling better.

"It's all it is, get your oil changed," Hamilton said. "I'm back in there, good to go."

Hamilton said his knee had been sore for about a month.

"It's just soreness, that's all it is," said Hamilton, who was starting in center field.

Adrian Beltre is the designated hitter for the second straight game and manager Ron Washington is hoping Beltre can start at third Saturday. Like Hamilton, Beltre left Wednesday's game early and was diagnosed with some mild inflammation in his left shoulder. He had two hits Thursday night.

The Texas offense should get another boost Saturday as Mike Napoli is slated to return to the team. The only thing that could change that is if Frisco's Friday playoff game gets rained out. Texas manager Ron Washington said he wants Napoli to get a few more at-bats with the Rangers' Double-A team before joining the Rangers. If he returns Saturday, he'll start at catcher.