Josh Hamilton has injured knee and will start season on DL
SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will start the season on the disabled list because of an injured left knee.
Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said the five-time All-Star, bothered by swelling in the knee, received a stem cell and platelet rich plasma injection Monday, when he was examined by Dr. James Andrews.
Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, will be on crutches for seven-to-10 days and is projected to need eight weeks of recovery time. Levine said Hamilton likely would start a minor league rehabilitation assignment in late April and the Rangers hope he will return to their lineup in early May.
''Obviously it's frustrating and disappointing,'' Hamilton said Wednesday. ''As an athlete, you don't want to be pushed back and wait and have a drawn-out time period to get back. That stinks. At the same time, I really felt like it was something that needed to be done now.''
Hamilton will be making his 11th trip to the disabled list.
''The reason we are giving him an eight-week program is so we don't cut any corners and give him a full spring training,'' Levine said.
After reporting to spring training last week, Hamilton experienced pain caused by an inflamed capsule behind his left knee. He had surgery twice on the knee last year, in September and then after the season after returning for the end of the regular season and the playoffs.
Following the October operation, Hamilton didn't take batting practice again until Jan. 22, the day after a cortisone shot.
''This is something different, that I haven't tried yet,'' Hamilton said. ''This was the next step to go. We've exhausted things. If this makes it 50 percent better, I'll be good to go. Everybody I've talked to who've said they had any kind of stem-cell stuff said they've had good results from them, so that's positive and encouraging. It will never be right, but I just want to get better. That's the simplistic way to put it. There's always that fear there that it might not work.''
Hamilton, who turns 35 on May 1, never went to spring training last year with the Los Angeles Angels when he was coming off shoulder surgery and a self-reported relapse with alcohol and cocaine. An arbitrator ruled Major League Baseball could not discipline him for that.
He was traded back to Texas at the end of April and made his season debut May 25. Hamilton hit .253 with eight homers in 170 at-bats over 50 games for the Rangers last season.
Hamilton tore ligaments in his left thumb in the eighth game of the 2014 Angels' season and did not return until June 3. Injuries limited him to one game after Sept. 4 and he has appeared in just 139 games the past two seasons.
Candidates to play left in his absence include prospects Joey Gallo, Nomar Mazara and Lewis Brinson, plus Ryan Rua. Gallo, 22, is primarily a third baseman, but appeared in 19 games last year in the outfield. Mazara is 20 and Brinson 21.
Rua was the 2015 opening-day starter in left but sprained his right ankle and fractured a heel in the first game that required surgery and went on the 60-day DL.
''I feel we are in a good place with the guys we have in camp,'' Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. ''How that all shakes out, we have 40 days until the end of it.''
Texas also is looking outside the organization.
''We are very aware of the players who are out there on the free-agent market, and we're still having conversations with those guys, as we have been for weeks,'' Levine said
NOTES: RHP Yu Darvish, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery, threw off a half-mound. . RHP Tanner Scheppers underwent knee surgery and will not return until the second half of the season. . RHP Luke Jackson has lower back stiffness.