Josh Hamilton is playing left field this season because it is supposed to keep him healthier.
That decision ignored the fact that injuries can happen other ways, see headfirst slides into home plate, and it ignored the fact that the Rangers didn't have an obvious replacement for center field. They've run through Julio Borbon, Endy Chavez and Craig Gentry with varying degrees of success, but none of them have grabbed the job and made their own.
After Tuesday night, we're wondering if Hamilton might be a contender for the spot once again.
Because the lack of the designated hitter forced Ron Washington to rejigger his lineup, Hamilton spent the evening in Houston in his old stomping grounds. He looked perfectly natural out there and even showed that he's learned a lesson about self-preservation that eluded him earlier this year. He dove for a ball off Clint Barmes's bat and kept his arms close to his body in an effort to protect himself.
"Kinda got alligator arms on the first one cause I knew I was going to hit the ground hard, so I didn’t get full extension," Hamilton said after the game.
As Hamilton alluded to, there was another dive later in the game and he went full extension that time to come up with another Barmes shot. He didn't get hurt on that one and the Rangers had to be at least considering making this a full-time solution.
The more Chris Davis hits at Triple-A, the harder it is to justify leaving him down there full time. He should be helping the big club, either as a part of the roster or as a trade chip to bring in someone who will help the push for another AL crown.
Davis has 10 games in the outfield for Round Rock this year. The Rangers are willing to play Mitch Moreland in a corner outfield spot so it isn't as if the team can turn its nose up on playing either of them in a lineup that features Hamilton in center. Nor could they dismiss a trade for another, more accomplished outfielder out of hand.
They've thrown water on interest in Carlos Beltran, but there are other possibilities and almost all of them are better than the three-headed monster that's been in center to this point. Pitching remains the biggest area in need of an upgrade, but gilding the lineup isn't an awful idea either.
Thanks to Hamilton, the Rangers have plenty of ways to consider doing that.