© 2009 MLB Advanced Media, L.P. All rights reserved.

04/28/09 8:30 PM ET

Hamilton out of lineup, may go on DL

Slugger's rib cage in 'extreme pain'; team decides Thursday

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton could likely end up on the disabled list this week with a strained left rib-cage muscle. But the Rangers are going to wait until Thursday to make that decision.

Hamilton was not in the lineup again on Tuesday, and an examination by Dr. Keith Meister, the Rangers team physician, confirmed the original diagnosis of a strained intercostal muscle. Hamilton was given a medicine dose pack to treat the injury, and that usually takes about 48 hours to take effect.

"That's why the doctor feels Thursday is a key date," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We're just going to take it day-by-day and see how he is on Thursday and how the team's needs are. Josh's thought is if we can wait, we'd like to do that. If we need to replace him on the roster, we will."

While the Rangers won't place Hamilton on the disabled list right away, he is not available to pinch-hit, either. He was not doing well when he reported to the ballpark on Tuesday.

"I'm in extreme pain, no matter what I do," Hamilton said before meeting with Meister.

Hamilton injured the rib cage running into a wall last Tuesday in Toronto and has started just three of the Rangers' last six games. He was not in the lineup on Sunday or Monday. Hamilton took batting practice on Monday, but on Tuesday he shut it down

"I probably need to rest it and let it heal," Hamilton said. "I've been battling through it the last four or five days. I tried it yesterday in batting practice, and it didn't feel right.

"I can't do much of anything. I can't work out, I can't run, I can't swing, I can't throw. We'll see. All I know is I prayed about it and have peace about it. I'm going to do what I need to do to get it right."

The Rangers don't mind waiting, because they are facing three left-handers in three games against the Athletics, plus White Sox left-handers Mark Buehrle on Friday and John Danks on Sunday. That allows the Rangers to use Andruw Jones in left field and Marlon Byrd in center. Both are right-handed hitters. Nelson Cruz was also back in the lineup on Tuesday night after getting a day off on Monday.

"We have some time to wait," Daniels said. "We'll take it a day at a time, see how Josh is feeling and what the teams needs are."

Greg Golson, who was acquired from the Phillies in the offseason, would likely be called up if the Rangers put Hamilton on the disabled list. He is hitting .310 at Triple-A Oklahoma City and gives the Rangers some speed off the bench that they don't have now.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.