The writing may have been on the wall back in February.
That’s when Josh Hamilton had to leave spring training workouts after feeling discomfort in his left knee, the knee he had reconstructive surgery on last summer, which led to another procedure. However, this time around it wasn’t the left knee that gave Hamilton issues. According to Rangers general manager Jon Daniels, Hamilton reinjured his right knee during hitting drills a few weeks ago during rehab.
Now, Hamilton’s return with the Rangers is officially over. The team released the former American League MVP after the latest injury setback in a move that really wasn’t considered that surprising.
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”Josh will forever hold a place in Rangers history as one of the most talented, charismatic and productive players to wear our uniform,” said Daniels. ”We wish him all the best in his upcoming recovery, and with his family.”
Since being reacquired from the Los Angeles Angels in 2015, Hamilton’s time on the field in a Rangers uniform has been limited to say the least due to various injuries. Luckily for the Rangers, they didn’t have to pick up a big part of the tab left on Hamilton’s contract; the Angels are still on the hook. The Halos are paying him $26.41 million this year.
But what’s more important is the fact this may signal the end of Hamilton’s playing career. It seemed that every time Hamilton started on the road back to Arlington, road blocks were thrown in the way concerning his health. The knees are not healing the way both Hamilton and the organization had hoped.
This latest injury is a prime example. For those who’ve dealt with multiple knee injuries, when you have constant issues with one knee, there is the tendency to overcompensate using the other knee. If that other knee has been a problem in the past, it’s all downhill from there.
Both Hamilton and the Rangers were hoping that maybe a position switch could help ease the physical burden and help cement a roster spot. Hamilton was in the process of making the move from outfield to first base. This was also prior to the Rangers bringing Mike Napoli back to Arlington. Even if Hamilton was healthy and did earn a roster spot, he was a part-time player at best, a far cry from the days when he was one of the more feared hitters in the game.
Although this seems like the end of Hamilton’s days in a Rangers uniform, he will always be remembered by Rangers fans for the good times and the bad. Granted, Hamilton didn’t do himself any favors along the way, but Rangers Nation did welcome him back and all was forgiven. Hamilton played a major part for the Rangers in the two World Series teams during the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Bumpy road or not, Hamilton was a success story after leaving the game early on in his career due to substance abuse.
Now that the playing career has the appeared to come to an end, that leaves only one left to be asked. Is Hamilton worthy enough for a spot in the Rangers Hall of Fame?
Let the debate begin.