09/17/10 9:23 PM ET
Playoff tickets go on sale tomorrow
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
Hamilton gets cortisone shot for ailing ribs
SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton had received two cortisone injections on Wednesday in an attempt to ease the pain and discomfort from his bruised right rib cage.Hamilton, who is with the Rangers on the trip, has been sidelined since Sept. 4, after injuring his rib cage falling against a wall at Target Field in Minnesota. He has not resumed baseball activities. "Right now, as far as treatment, we're throwing everything we can at this thing," Hamilton said. Manager Ron Washington is hoping that Hamilton can start taking batting practice on Monday in Anaheim and can return to the lineup during a four-game series against the Athletics that starts on Thursday in Oakland. That would give Hamilton 11 games to get ready for the playoffs. "That would be enough at-bats for him to get back in the groove," Washington said. "The shots should take affect by the time we get out of [Seattle on Sunday], so hopefully he can start doing things by the time we get to Anaheim." Hamilton may be used some at designated hitter to get those at-bats, but the Rangers want him back in the outfield. He'll play left when Julio Borbon is in the lineup, but Washington also made it clear that Hamilton will be his center fielder when David Murphy is in the lineup. "If I have to put him in center field, I will not hesitate," Washington said. Hamilton still leads the American League with a .361 batting average, which would also be a club record. He already has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting crown, and has a chance to be the third Rangers player to lead the league in hitting. Julio Franco did it with a club-record .341 batting average in 1990 and Michael Young won with a .331 average in 2005. He is also leading the league with a .414 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage. Joe Mauer led the league in all three categories last year. Before that, the last player to lead the AL in all three categories was George Brett with the Royals in 1980.
Francoeur getting first base instruction
SEATTLE -- Manager Ron Washington started giving Jeff Francoeur some individual instruction at first base on Friday. Francoeur has never played first base in professional baseball, and it's extremely unlikely that he will for the Rangers this season.But the Rangers are at least looking at it. "We just want to see what he looks like," Washington said. "I can't commit to anything until we see what he looks like. We're looking for versatility. We know he has a powerful right-handed bat..." Asked if the odds were astronomical that Francoeur played first base in the playoffs, Washington said, "Is there anything higher than astronomical?" Jorge Cantu has been the Rangers right-handed-hitting first baseman and he will start there on Saturday against Seattleleft-hander Jason Vargas. But he is hitting just .203 (13-for-64) without a home run or RBI since being acquired from the Marlins at the Trade Deadline, and there is no guarantee that he will be on the playoff roster. But Washington made it clear that he's trying to get Cantu going against left-handers, considering there is a possibility they could face either Yankees ace CC Sabathia or Tampa Bay's David Price in the first game of the playoffs. The other option would be to have Mitch Moreland start facing left-handers. He is just 4-for-17 off them since making his Major League debut on July 29. "Maybe ... I haven't thought about that," Washington said. "I'm trying to keep Cantu engaged against left-handers."
Andrus getting second wind
SEATTLE -- Elvis Andrus is starting to get his second wind after missing five games with tight hamstrings on the last road trip. Andrus was 6-for-16 with seven runs scored over his last four games going into Friday night.Andrus also said getting two days off this week helped. The Rangers did not play on Monday or Thursday, giving Andrus much-needed time off. "That helped," Andrus said. "Those days off really came at the right time. I was able to work out and get some rest. The hamstrings feel good and my legs feel 100 percent. I just need to continue to get treatment and get really loose before the game."
Jones joins Texas after successful OKC season
SEATTLE -- Triple-A manager Bobby Jones joined the Rangers on Friday. He will be with them on the road trip. Jones guided the Oklahoma City RedHawks into the Pacific Coast League playoffs, but they were swept in the first round."At the end, we just didn't have enough," Jones said. "We got in the playoffs, but we were struggling offensively. The pitching wasn't bad, but we weren't hitting." Part of the problem was the Rangers took several key players, including catcher Taylor Teagarden, first baseman Mitch Moreland and infielder Esteban German. Injuries to outfielders Craig Gentry (broken wrist) and Chad Tracy (pulled rib cage muscle) also cost the RedHawks. This was Jones' seventh straight season as Oklahoma City's manager, and his last. He will be back with the Rangers next season, but they are moving their Triple-A affiliate to Round Rock. Jones admitted to being a little sad about leaving Oklahoma City. "I am," Jones said. "I made some great friends in the stands and we had a lot of support. It's tough. It was pretty emotional during the last playoff game, but it's time to move on." Jones, of course, has been the visiting manager at Round Rock and described the facility there as gorgeous. "Beautiful ballpark," Jones said. "The best thing is there are always 7,000 to 10,000 people in the stands. Oklahoma City drew OK, but not like Round Rock. That's the big thing."
Alexi Ogando's 1.30 ERA is the lowest among all Major League pitchers with at least 30 innings pitched. ... Pitcher Matt Harrison turned 25 on Thursday. ... Frank Francisco (strained rib cage muscle) is with the Rangers and still hoping to resume throwing on Monday.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.