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Hamilton Absence Not a Setback So Far

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Before starting any discussion about the Texas Rangers' nice little stretch they're on right now, it must be disclosed that the team is currently playing one of the worst teams in baseball and is coming off a sweep of a team that isn't much better.

    Even still, the Rangers have won their past four games, and all of those wins have come without the services of all-world center fielder Josh Hamilton, who was hospitalized on Friday with a stomach virus causing him to miss the entire weekend against the Houston Astros. He made the trip to San Diego with the team and played in the bottom of the ninth on Monday night as a defensive replacement.

    The Rangers have used both Craig Gentry and Triple-A call-up Leonys Martin, the Cuban import who made a splash when he signed with the Rangers last summer, in Hamilton's absence.

    Hamilton has been in a bad way at the plate since the day he crushed four home runs back on May 8 in Baltimore, hitting just .241 over the last month with a .309 on-base percentage. That's a far cry from his first month. And to show how hot he was before that four-home run game, he was named the May AL Player of the Month despite that low number since May 8.

    Luckily for the Rangers, their competition has been almost non-existent since Hamilton has been out. And if the Rangers can continue their run of good fortune, maybe this little mini-break will help Hamilton recharge his batteries and get back on track as it seems he'd be back in the lineup tonight against the Padres since he did come in and play in the ninth inning on Monday night.