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Without Hamilton, Rangers Will Be OK

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Without Hamilton, Rangers Will Be OK

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Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats during a spring training game against the Kansas City Royals at Surprise Stadium on February 27, 2011 in Surprise, Arizona.

When reports came out Tuesday that Josh Hamilton "heard two pops" in his arm when he slid head-first into home plate and was tagged out after a boneheaded play by the Tigers left home plate open on a foul ball pop-out, Rangers fans everywhere were holding their breaths.

Then, just about an hour or so later, when reports surfaced that Hamilton had indeed broken his arm on the slide and would miss 6-8 weeks, with the full eight being the more likely possibility, Rangers fans everywhere passed out.

It'd be foolish to say Hamilton's lengthy upcoming absence won't hurt the Rangers, who are off to their best start in club history and have ascended to the top of many national MLB Power Rankings lists, including ESPN's.

But there's a couple of things to keep in mind before you go jump off of Reunion Tower.

First of all, while the offense has been great this season so far, so has the pitching. The fact that C.J. Wilson and Colby Lewis have been the "worst" of the Rangers' starting rotation is a really good sign.

Second, the Rangers have been here before. Hamilton has had lengthy absences the past two seasons, including last year when he missed nearly all of September while the Rangers went full steam ahead, increased their AL West lead and Hamilton still won the AL MVP award.

This is going to be a longer DL stint, probably at least 60 games will be out the window for Hamilton, but think of it this way: The Rangers have the best fourth outfielder in baseball in David Murphy, who will now be an everyday player. This, of course, means that Julio Borbon will likely be an everyday player too, which isn't nearly as cool.

But come July, when Hamilton is ready to go, it'll be like the best deadline acquisition of the season, assuming he's ready to go at full strength. And with a four-game lead in the division already, the Rangers could have a sizeable lead come that time and the hope is Hamilton won't be rushed back before he's ready.

So what have we learned today? Well, losing Hamilton obviously hurts, especially on defense. But this is becoming old hat with the fragile superstar, and it's nothing new that these guys haven't seen before and can't handle.

The Rangers will still win the AL West. Take that to your bookie. 

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