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05/05/09 4:16 PM ET

Hamilton encouraged by game of catch

Outfielder feels no rib-cage pain, should come off DL on time

SEATTLE -- A simple game of catch with assistant equipment manager Calvin Minasian left Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton giddy with excitement Tuesday morning.

"Great," Hamilton said. "Very encouraging. That was a massive improvement from yesterday."

Hamilton is on the disabled list with a strained muscle in his left rib cage, and the throwing session left him even more convinced that he will be ready to come off the disabled list next Tuesday. He started out playing catch and eventually was throwing from the third-base line all the way to deep right-center.

"I could probably swing a bat right now and not feel it," Hamilton said before the Rangers' game with the Mariners on Tuesday.

Hamilton, who injured the rib cage running into a wall on April 21 in Toronto, hasn't swung a bat since taking batting practice on April 27 in Baltimore. He had to shut it down because of the pain the rib cage, and he eventually went on the disabled list retroactive to that date.

Hamilton is hoping to take batting practice on Wednesday in Oakland. If he continues to progress, he'll probably go on a medical rehabilitation assignment on Sunday with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The RedHawks are at Round Rock for four games starting on Friday, and Hamilton would likely play two games with them.

"That's good with me," Hamilton said. "I don't care."

The outfielder, who last appeared in a game as a pinch-hitter on April 26, is eligible to come off the disabled list on Tuesday when the Rangers return home and open a three-game series with the Mariners.

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