Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton stood in a tunnel near the dugout with sweat dripping off his face and a look of contentment after his most extensive workout since breaking his upper right arm.
"Today is the best I've felt as far as my pain since I've been hurt," Hamilton said Tuesday.
Exactly two weeks after getting hurt diving headfirst into home plate at Detroit, the reigning AL MVP went through a workout that included catching flyballs, throwing and running the bases. He was in good spirits wearing a T-shirt featuring the words "Don't Get Bitter, Get Better" surrounding a lemon.
"I don't even have to say anything. That says it all," he said, pointing to the shirt. "Don't feel sorry for yourself. ... It is what it is. Just do what you can to get better, as fast as you can. That's it, (there's) a lot of season left."
Hamilton sustained a non-displaced fracture at the top of his right arm, just below the shoulder, when he tried scoring with a daring dash on a foul popup after being told to go by third-base coach Dave Anderson.
The Rangers said then that Hamilton would be out six to eight weeks and wouldn't be able to swing a bat for a month.
"Swinging will be the last thing I do," Hamilton reiterated. "I'm just staying on top of everything I can until I get that back."
When Hamilton got hurt, the fracture was small enough that it wasn't initially detectable on an X-ray until after an MRI.
There was a follow-up X-ray Friday, and Hamilton said team physician Dr. Keith Meister told him it was clear.
"They did the MRI, and they went back and looked at the (initial) X-ray and they could see a shadow there, so that told them where it was," Hamilton said. "This X-ray they did, Dr. Meister said he'd have to imagine where it was at to see it. He didn't see the shadow there."
Hamilton is already taking some one-armed swings off a tee using his uninjured left arm, but isn't ready to say when he expects to be able to swing freely with both arms. He sounded like it might be sooner than the original timeframe of a month, but there would still be considerable pain now extending the right arm with a full swing.
"Just can't rush that," manager Ron Washington said. "When Josh is ready, you will see him in the cage hitting. When he's getting close, he'll be swinging a bat."
Washington said he is encouraged by the work Hamilton is doing and considered it a positive sign that the outfielder has been loud and outgoing.
"When Josh is doing that he's feeling good," Washington said.
Hamilton is staying home when the Rangers wrap up their homestand Thursday and head West for games in Oakland and Seattle. He said he is skipping a road trip for the first time to work out at Rangers Ballpark with assistant trainer Matt Lucero.
"I can get a lot more done here than I can on the road," Hamilton said. "It's a short road trip. If it was a longer road trip, I might go. But I don't have to worry about getting a certain time on the opposing team's field and do things. I can just come out here and do them."