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Josh Hamilton out until early May

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The Texas Rangers have announced that Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list, and will be out until early May

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Hamilton will be on the disabled list to start the season, and is expected to be out until early May, according to the team (via the beat guys on Twitter).

Hamilton got a stem cell injection in his knee while in Alabama, and is expected to be on crutches for the next 7-10 days.  The team says that they are aiming for a rehab assignment in April, with Hamilton back, ideally, in May.

The problem with this, of course, is that Hamilton's health history is such that you have to be skeptical that he will actually return on the targeted date.  In addition, as I've discussed before, even if Hamilton is able to return, there's a legitimate question about whether he'll be able to stay on the field for any length of time, or whether he'll just be back on the shelf in a week or two with another injury, as happened in 2016.

In any case, Nomar Mazara now has an opportunity to seize the left field job to start the season if he has a great camp, and the Rangers will ramp up their efforts to try to try to find someone to platoon with Justin Ruggiano on a short-term basis.