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Hamilton Hits Homerun in First Rehab Game

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Reigning AL MVP Josh Hamilton began his minor league rehab assignment on Wednesday.

    Hamilton hit a homerun in his second at bat for Double-A Frisco. He is scheduled to play four more games in a stint and could rejoin the Rangers early next week.

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    An examination earlier in Wednesday by team physician Dr. Keith Meister showed "significant healing" in the broken bone in the slugger's upper right arm.

    "For the next five games, yes, I want to be careful before I get back," Hamilton said Wednesday before batting practice at Frisco. "If I get on first, I'm not going to get much of a lead. I'm not going to be diving back, and I'm not doing any stolen bases."

    The plan is for Hamilton to play two nights for Frisco, then go to Triple-A Round Rock before three games this weekend. The Rangers open a six-game homestand Monday night.

    Hamilton has been out since getting hurt April 12 at Detroit when trying to score with a headfirst slide into home. The slugger made a daring dash to an uncovered plate on a foul popout after being told to go by third-base coach Dave Anderson.

    After initially calling the play "stupid" and saying he ran because he was told to, Hamilton later met with Anderson and tried publicly to clarify what he meant -- that he was disappointed about being hurt -- and that he didn't blame the coach for getting hurt.

    "I don't hate the way I got hurt. I could have been smarter and not gone, but I appreciate Dave's confidence in my ability to make it," Hamilton reiterated Wednesday. "Could I have slid in feet-first? Yes, but I wouldn't have made it."

    When Hamilton got hurt, the Rangers said he would be out six to eight weeks, and wouldn't swing a bat for about a month.

    Hamilton resumed taking batting practice with the Rangers last Friday, a month and a day after he got hurt. The Rangers' game next Tuesday will be six weeks after the injury.

    "The frustration wears off the more times you do it," he said. "Now I call it eagerness to get back there."

    Hamilton last season hit a major league-leading .359 with 32 homers and 100 RBIs despite missing most of the final month of the regular season with broken ribs. He rolled his ankle and stumbled into the wall after making a catch on the warning track in Minnesota.

    There were two stints on the disabled list in 2009 after separate wall-crashing catches.

    "Some things I can eliminate, like putting my body face-planted diving for the ball. If I can't get to a ball in the outfield at least for a while, I won't go headfirst," he said. "It always goes back to the situation in the game. If we have to have it to win, there's no holding back. If you can get by without diving, then you do it."

    Hamilton was in the same Frisco lineup with Nelson Cruz, who has been with the RoughRiders since Monday on rehab for a strained right quadriceps muscle.

    Cruz, who was in the field Wednesday night after two games as the DH, could rejoin the Rangers this weekend in Philadelphia.