07/02/10 1:55 AM ET
Hamilton's hitting streak ends at 23 games
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com
After all, he led the Majors with a .454 batting average and 31 RBIs during the month and entered Thursday's game against the Angels with a career-best 23-game hitting streak on the line.
But on the first day of the new month, Hamilton saw that hit streak, which was a Major League best, come to an end with an 0-for-3 performance in the Rangers' 2-1 loss to the Angels on Thursday.
Hamilton was retired by Angels right-hander Jered Weaver in his first three at-bats of the night, including two strikeouts, before losing his chance to extend the streak when he was walked intentionally in the eighth inning with runners on second and third with two outs.
The hit streak, which raised his batting average from .291 to .343, also has set himself up for contention for the American League Triple Crown along with teammate Vladimir Guerrero.
After Thursday's loss, Hamilton's .340 batting average ranks fourth the AL, his 18 home runs tied him for fifth with Guerrero and his 58 RBIs ranked third while his .339 batting ranked fifth and his 68 RBIs are tied for the league lead.
But Hamilton said hitting for the Triple Crown, which was last done by the Red Sox's Carl Yastrzemski in 1967, isn't on his mind, although it's always nice to put up good numbers in those categories.
"To any player they would be important," Hamilton said. "I obviously set goals before the season and keep them reasonably high for myself so that if I come up short, I still had a pretty good season. I maybe used to try to hit home runs, but now I'm just trying to get hits and get on base and make something happen."
Manager Ron Washington said he wouldn't be shocked if Hamilton accomplished the rare feat, but that it's still too early in the season to discuss it seriously.
"I think it's a ton of work, but I wouldn't put it past him," Washington said. "But at this point of the season, jeez. He'd still have the ability to do it, but takes a lot of preparation to pull that off."
Right-hander Strop recalled from Triple-A
ANAHEIM -- With the trade for catcher Bengie Molina becoming official on Thursday, the Rangers recalled right-hander Pedro Strop from Triple-A Oklahoma City to take the roster spot of reliever Chris Ray, who was sent to San Francisco in the trade.
Strop, 25, is in his third stint with the Rangers this season and made one appearance coming on June 1 when he tossed a scoreless inning against the White Sox. He has spent the rest of the season with Oklahoma City, where he has gone 1-1 with seven saves and a 2.79 ERA in 24 relief appearances.
Molina was added to the 40-man roster on Thursday with the trade becoming official, but will not be added to the 25-man roster until Friday with fellow catcher Max Ramirez expected to be optioned to Oklahoma City.
But Ron Washington had nothing but positive things to say about Ramirez, who hit .217 with two homers and eight RBIs in 28 games and improved his defense behind the plate.
"Max should be very proud of himself," Washington said. "And everyone who had their hands on him should be proud of the progress he's made. I know we're proud because of what he's done with the pitching staff and the time he's put in to learn the system."
Harden encouraged by bullpen session
ANAHEIM -- Injured right-hander Rich Harden was upbeat on Thursday after throwing a 58-pitch bullpen session and said it's the healthiest he's felt all season.
Harden, who has been on the disabled list since June 12 with a left gluteal muscle strain and threw his first bullpen on Sunday, said he only threw fastballs in his side session on Thursday, but that the ball came out well.
"I'm feeling good," Harden said. "I'm getting to where I wanted to be. I'm getting on top of the ball and staying through it. It's coming out of my hand the way it should."
Harden said the tentative plan is to throw another bullpen on Saturday before going out on a rehab assignment.
"I just can't wait to get out there," said Harden, who is not expected back before the All-Star break. "I want to pitch and do it now, but I need another 'pen and another rehab. But I feel good and I feel strong."
Treanor returns to action
ANAHEIM -- Catcher Matt Treanor was back in the lineup on Thursday after sitting out on Wednesday with a bruised right knee he suffered when he fouled a ball off his knee during Tuesday's game.
But Treanor, who is batting .237 with five homers and 23 RBIs in 55 games, is expected to see his role reduced moving forward with the addition of Bengie Molina from the Giants.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he plans to use Molina as his No. 1 catcher with Treanor moving into a backup role. But Treanor said he's OK with his new role if it helps the team reach the postseason.
"I'm coming ready to play every day," Treanor said. "I'm going to continue to do the scouting reports and the usual stuff I always do. Whenever 'Skip' says I'm catching, I'll concentrate on that.
Beltre should make next start
ANAHEIM -- Rangers manager Ron Washington said right-hander Omar Beltre, who allowed four runs over four innings in his Major League debut against the Angels on Wednesday, will "probably" make his next scheduled start on Monday against the Indians.
"We haven't ruled him out of his next start and he's still here, and we are going to stay with five so he probably will [start]," Washington said. "We liked what we saw. He didn't embarrass himself. He didn't back down. They put two good innings against him and then he settled in."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.