As Josh Hamilton returned from his second knee opinion in Alabama this morning, he arrived at Rangers’ Spring Training in Arizona on crutches. Now more than ever, the left-field position is in limbo.
The Rangers weren’t counting on the former AL MVP to play 162 games in the outfield, but news that his balky knee can’t even withstand the lead-up to full-squad workouts is alarming. Especially when the team hasn’t exactly bought the best of insurance policies.
It’s painfully clear that Hamilton, who has already undergone two surgeries since September, can’t be counted on as the everyday left fielder. At this point it’s iffy whether he can even be part of a platoon, or even a part-time DH. After the surgeries and a cortisone injection he experienced renewed soreness last week and sought the advice of noted orthopedist Dr. James Andrews.
So now what? Another surgery? Chronic pain? 100 games? 62 games?
While former Ranger/free agent David Murphy seems a viable option as a left-handed hitting left fielder, the team signed righty Justin Ruggiano as a free agent. Minor-league prospects include Nomar Mazara or Joey Gallo, but the Rangers seemed determined to make the latter slugger a 3rd baseman.
Hamilton’s been a pain in the butt for this organization for years now. And with the pain in his knee, this spring is proving no different.
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.