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04/30/09 1:42 PM ET

Hamilton still fending off trip to DL

Rangers slugger seeing improvement, set to swing Friday

ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, sidelined with a strained rib cage muscle, continues to show enough improvement to avoid the disabled list, but he is still not ready to return to the lineup.

Hamilton, who is getting daily treatment, was out of the lineup again Thursday against the Athletics, and he is not optimistic about being able to play this weekend against the White Sox.

"Probably not," Hamilton said. "It's getting better ... not doing any baseball activities, I'm probably feeling 60 percent better. That doesn't mean that if I started swinging the bat, I wouldn't go back to where I was before."

Hamilton, who sustained the injury April 21 in Toronto, last started Saturday against the Orioles in Baltimore. He pinch-hit Sunday, but he hasn't played since then. Hamilton is hoping to resume swinging a bat Friday.

"We'll just see if he makes it through that," manager Ron Washington said. "We're still going day-by-day."

If Hamilton goes on the disabled list, he would be sidelined until at least May 12. That's why the Rangers are willing to wait through the weekend to see if he can get back in the lineup.

But Hamilton said he doesn't see getting back into the lineup until at least Monday, at the earliest. That's not too fun.

"I'm bored," Hamilton said. "I don't want to sit and watch the game."

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