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Hamilton Hurting Early at Rangers' Spring Training

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    CLEVELAND, OH - MAY 25: Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers takes a selfie with a fan prior to the game against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on May 25, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

    Just a day after I included Josh Hamilton’s health as one of the Rangers’ 5 Most Important Spring Training questions, his health came into question.

    According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the veteran slugger reported to camp in Surprise, Arizona early, but also reported pain in his balky left knee. Yeah, uh-oh.

    Hamilton threw, caught fly balls, hit and even ran the bases a week ahead of the deadline for position players to report.

    But what he brings in enthusiasm, he apparently lacks in health. He’s had trouble with the knee in the past, including an October surgery last year. An anti-inflammatory shot in January was supposed to help, but on Tuesday the 2010 AL MVP felt enough to be concerned.

    “We’ll hit it with treatment and see if it responds to being active every day. Hopefully it does,” Hamilton told the newspaper. “I’m not really worrying about it. I ran some bases today. It seems like the more I do on it, the better it feels. I think Doc said it was inflammation of the capsule. I’m wondering why, 2 1/2 weeks later, it started happening again. Is this going to be an ongoing thing? Is this not going to be an ongoing thing? I have those questions, too.”

    The Rangers would love to squeeze 120 games out of Hamilton, while realizing they shouldn’t count on him as an everyday field player. Aside from his notable fight with drugs and alcohol, the 35-year-old has, after all, endured 15 surgeries on various body parts including the knee.

    “I’m not behind,” he said. “I feel like I’m in good shape. I’ve been able to do all my leg stuff and really work this off-season. I’m not behind as far as strength or anything.”

    The Rangers know they’ll have to pick-and-choose carefully on when to rely on Hamilton during the regular season. Same strategy should apparently be in effect during Spring Training.

    A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.