Looking Ahead: Left Field - NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
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Looking Ahead: Left Field



    In what will be a daily post, we'll talk about the upcoming season for the Texas Rangers and where guys fit in on the roster. It's almost baseball time!

    It's been quite the offseason for Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton. There was a surgery to repair a hernia that hindered his play in the postseason, and then of course the much-talked about alcohol relapse last month at a popular Dallas bar that starts with Sh and ends with erlock's.

    With everyone set to report to Surprise, Ariz., for spring training on Monday, it's time to put that stuff behind him. It's been a goal of the Rangers for Hamilton to be permanently moved out of center field, where injuries are supposedly more likely because of the amount of ground to cover and the fact that there are so many walls to run into. And it seems this year might finally be the year where the Rangers can make Hamilton their permanent left fielder.

    After winning the AL MVP in 2010 with a .359 average, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs while missing all of September, Hamilton regressed a bit in 2011. But who wouldn't regress from those numbers? He played in just 121 games last season, missing more than a month with a shoulder injury suffered in the first month of the season. He batted .298 with 25 home runs and 94 RBIs, which aren't bad numbers at all considering he missed 41 games.

    In the postseason, when Hamilton's power was all but gone because of his hernia, he showed what makes him such a great player when he was able to hit consistently, and to all fields despite being in pain every time he swung a bat.

    Hamilton's defense is superb, especially for a left fielder. He's basically a corner outfielder with the skill set of a center fielder — speed, range, arm strength, accuracy. In other words, everything you want in a defensive outfielder.

    Improvement needs: Stay healthy, get batting average back above .300.