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04/13/11 11:34 AM ET
Injured shoulder to sideline Hamilton 6-8 weeks
Slugger suffers small fracture in humerus bone on slide home
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will be sidelined for six to eight weeks with a small non-displaced fracture of the humerus bone just below his right shoulder. Hamilton injured himself sliding into home plate in the first inning of Tuesday's 5-4 loss to the Tigers.
The fracture did not show up on the X-rays, but did show up on an MRI image that was examined by Dr. Keith Meister, the Rangers' team physician. Hamilton was placed on the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, and infielder Chris Davis was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.
David Murphy will likely get most of the playing time while Hamilton is out, general manager Jon Daniels said. But the Rangers could use Davis at first base and move Mitch Moreland to the outfield. Davis was 9-for-21 with four home runs and 11 RBIs at Round Rock.
"You don't want anyone to get hurt, but Josh is a big part of our club," Daniels said. "But we've got a guy like David Murphy who could start in almost every other scenario and has done a great job for us. We saw what David did for us last year when Josh got hurt in September. He has been a big part of our club the last few years."
Hamilton will not swing a bat for at least four weeks. He could be back in six weeks, but the Rangers are planning on it being more toward eight weeks.
"Our medical staff said six to eight weeks is the general rule of thumb on this injury," Daniels said. "When he does come back, we expect him to be 100 percent and not have any complications."
This is the third time in three years that Hamilton has been on the DL, and he also missed significant time last September because of two small fractures in his left rib cage. His three previous injuries were from running into outfield walls while playing defense.
This injury occurred running the bases in a game in which he started at designated hitter.
"You've got an extremely athletic man at 240 pounds," Daniels said. "He is capable of doing things with the way he runs and the aggressive style that he plays that you don't see often in guys that size. His size and athleticism may put him at risk, but we want him to keep that style."
Hamilton, sent by third-base coach Dave Anderson, was thrown out trying to score on a foul popup caught by third baseman Brandon Inge near the Tigers' dugout. Catcher Victor Martinez was near Inge chasing the pop, and pitcher Brad Penny forgot to cover home plate.
"I was standing on the mound and I saw [Hamilton] go, and I was like, 'I'm supposed to be there,'" Penny said.
He wasn't, so Anderson sent Hamilton.
"A stupid play," Hamilton said. "I was thinking, 'I don't want to do this ... something is going to happen.' I listened to my coach."
Hamilton bolted for home, but Martinez got there first, taking the throw from Inge on the run and applying the tag. Hamilton tried to slide headfirst to the inside and reach out with the right arm to touch the plate. Martinez beat him, and that's where the injury occurred.
"As soon as the ball went up, I saw the catcher leave home plate and saw the pitcher was not covering home," Anderson said. "I was telling Josh there was nobody at home plate. I thought we could try and steal a run. It was a tough play for the catcher, running away and catching a shuttle pass like that.
"I thought it was an opportunity -- two outs, try to take advantage of it. That's what we do, try to take advantage of things. When the ball is in the air and nobody is covering, go to home plate and see what happens."
Anderson sent Hamilton. He did not tell him to slide headfirst. That's not something the Rangers teach their players, especially at home plate. But Hamilton said a headfirst slide was his only chance of being safe.
"If I slide feetfirst, I'm out," Hamilton said. "I definitely shouldn't have gone. It would have been different if they had been closer to where I was. But they had a good angle and cut me off ... little too aggressive."
Daniels said Rangers manager Ron Washington and his staff have tried to teach their players not to slide headfirst.
"It's something we would like to avoid, but some guys have a running style and sliding style that's hard to change," Daniels said.
Daniels said he had no issue with Anderson sending Hamilton on the play.
"I have absolutely no issue with Dave sending him," Daniels said. "That's a big tenet with Wash and what he teaches. We play aggressive baseball and take extra bases. The chance for him to get hurt on that play is minimal. I don't think that had anything to do with it.
"I would encourage Dave to continue to be aggressive."