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03/01/09 6:34 PM EST
Hamilton departs with Achilles strain
Outfielder leaves game against Mariners in top of second
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton should have had an inside-the-park home run. Instead, he ended up with a mild strain of his left Achilles tendon. Hamilton left Sunday's game in the top of the second inning after straining the tendon while pulling into third base with a triple in the bottom of the first. He ended up being stranded at third. He went out to center field in the top of the second, but felt the tightness in the muscle and decided to come out of the game.
Hamilton was replaced by Julio Borbon and is day-to-day. The Rangers play the Indians on Monday and then have a day off on Tuesday. Hamilton said that he might play on Monday.
"It's no big deal, it just tightened up," Hamilton said. "Obviously, we have 800 Spring Training games left, these games aren't that important. We'll just see how it feels in the morning."
Hamilton came up with one on and one out in the first and hit a high fly to left. Mariners left fielder Brian LaHair had trouble with the whipping, swirling wind and the bright sun as he went back to the warning track. The ball caromed off the wall and rolled far enough away for Hamilton to reach third. That's where he felt the muscle tighten.
Hamilton said he was taking it easy coming out of the batter's box and then started speeding up once he saw LaHair having trouble.
"That's why you run hard out of the box," Hamilton said. "I could have had an inside-the-park home run. I told that to our young players, do as I say, not as I do."
Hamilton still had an RBI on the play as Young scored from first base. Hamilton is now 5-for-9 with a triple, two home runs and four RBIs in his first four Cactus League games this year.
"I'm relaxed, and obviously my stance is different from last year," Hamilton said. "I worked on some different things all offseason, and when I got to Spring Training, I didn't feel comfortable. I just finally got into a comfortable position. That's the good thing about [hitting coach] Rudy Jaramillo. He doesn't care what you do, as long as you get into good hitting position."
The Rangers aren't going to push Hamilton in Spring Training, but they are running short on outfielders. Brandon Boggs is limited to occasional DH duty because of a strained right shoulder, and Nelson Cruz and Frank Catalanotto have left for the World Baseball Classic.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.