08/20/10 7:35 PM ET
Hamilton feels OK despite mini slump
By Pete Kerzel / Special to MLB.com
"What are you talking about?" Hamilton said, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "I've been having great at-bats."
He then stepped to the plate and proved it, ripping a double off the glove of left fielder Julio Lugo in the first inning.
In his past five games before Friday, Hamilton was 1-for-16 and had seen his league-leading average drop from .364 to .353, which is still tops in the Majors by 13 points. The last time he went hitless in three straight games was April 17-20. He's been hitless in three straight games only three times this season.
"Every player goes through [slumps], so it's not a big deal," he said. "I got out of my routine for a couple of days, so I got back in my routine. I felt good last night -- every at-bat got a little better. Just try to not do too much."
Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't concerned by Hamilton's struggles, especially since Hamilton has a baseball-best 22 games with three or more hits and is leading the Majors with 282 total bases and 161 hits. His .618 slugging percentage and 66 extra-base hits are second most in the Major Leagues.
The fact that the Rangers are on a four-game losing streak only magnifies what Hamilton is going through, Washington said.
"As hot as Josh has been, I don't know if he could have kept that pace up," Washington said. "It's certainly hurting us that ... it happened through this road trip, but Josh can get back on track. I don't think anyone could have stayed as hot as he was."
Kinsler works out before Monday's MRI
BALTIMORE -- Injured second baseman Ian Kinsler is still restricted from baseball activities pending a MRI on Monday in Texas. But Kinsler was on the field at Camden Yards on Friday, doing some stationary strengthening drills as manager Ron Washington watched.
Kinsler, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 29 (retroactive to July 28), fielded ground balls from a crouching position. The drills, Washington said, were to test the strength and agility in Kinsler's groins, legs, quadriceps and hamstrings.
"If he can make it through what we did out there with him today and he has no residual [soreness], I have to say when he gets his test ... he may be available to start doing [baseball] things," Washington said. "But he got through that today and he got through it extremely well. He didn't feel anything, so we'll wait to see how it is tomorrow."
There is no timetable for Kinsler's return, with everything hinging on Monday's MRI, Washington said. Once he's cleared to resume baseball activities, Kinsler can begin running and swinging a bat again.
"Once we get him back to Texas ... and get another picture and see how things are, if everything's well, we can ramp him up and get it going," Washington said. "The stuff he did today, like I said, it was a good test. Hopefully, in the next couple of days, we can do it again."
First baseman Jorge Cantu, who has played second base for 218 of his 799 Major League games, also took some grounders at second before Friday's game.
"We just wanted to get a look at [Cantu] at second base. He's done it before," Washington said. "Just trying to see if we have another option. You never know what might happen."
RedHawks to honor longtime skipper
BALTIMORE -- Triple-A Oklahoma City manager Bobby Jones was to be honored before the RedHawks' home game against Reno on Friday for being the winningest manager in the city's Triple-A history since 1962. In two separate stints at the helm of the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate -- 1993-94 and 2002-10 -- Jones has compiled 702 victories.
"Bobby's probably touched more people in the organization than anyone else," general manager Jon Daniels said. "That doesn't happen by accident -- it's because we all respect the guy so much. And because of those relationships, he gets through to the players, he's earned that equity. We constantly challenge our staff to be the best at what they do, and while Bobby wouldn't say it, I think he's the best at what he does."
The 62-year-old Jones has spent 23 seasons as a Minor League manager in the Rangers' system after playing parts of nine seasons in the Majors with California and Texas and hitting .221 with 42 career pinch-hits.
One of his first teammates in pro ball with Geneva of the New York-Penn League in 1967 was Tom Grieve, who was a player for the Senators, Rangers, Mets and Cardinals from 1970-79 and the Rangers' general manager from 1984-94.
"I've known Bobby for as long as I've been in baseball. ... You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who didn't like him. He's got a great disposition -- he's a player's manager, but he's not a pushover, either. I think the players know that and respect that," Grieve said.
The RedHawks are selling commemorative T-shirts at Bricktown Ballpark to mark Jones' achievement.
Pete Kerzel is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.