Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has been pulled off his rehab assignment with AA Frisco due to continued soreness in his knee. Hamilton has received another cortisone shot -- he got one initially back in January -- and the team is going to monitor his situation before making a decision on when he will try again.
This is unfortunate, and yet sadly predictable. Hamilton struggled with the knee problem at the end of last year, had surgery after the season, and then had surgery again later in the offseason. The cortisone shot initially had Hamilton feeling pain-free, but the pain returned after just a couple of weeks, leading the Rangers and Hamilton to say that they were just going to have to manage the situation in order to keep Hamilton on the field.
Initially, the report was that Hamilton would be back in Texas by the start of May, but his targeted return date was moved back a couple of weeks. Hamilton played just four innings with Frisco yesterday before leaving the game -- he was originally scheduled to play five innings, and now I guess we know why that was cut short.
The Hamilton situation just feels like Groundhog Day at this point. His knee hurts, they do something to it, its better, he's going to be back, wait maybe he's not...there's just no reason, at this point, to believe that he can stay on the field for any length of time. Even if, somehow, Hamilton goes on a rehab assignment, stays healthy, and is able to make it back to the majors with the Rangers, it seems like it is just a matter of time before he'll get hurt and land back on the d.l. again.
And at this point, there's not much reason to believe that the Rangers really need Josh. Nomar Mazara has been performing well, Shin-Soo Choo is due back off the disabled list, Ian Desmond and Delino DeShields are out there, Ryan Rua gives the Rangers a righthanded-swinging COF option...as I wrote about earlier this week, Hamilton's return creates more roster construction problems than anything else.
Hamilton is 35, his body isn't holding up, and the Rangers are in a situation where they don't really need him on the active roster. I find myself wondering if we aren't going to end up seeing Hamilton stashed on the d.l. until September, when rosters expand and he can come back as an occasional pinch hitter.