Hamilton back in Rangers' lineup

Hamilton back in Rangers' lineup

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was back in the Rangers' lineup on Monday. He left Saturday's game against the Rays early with soreness in his right knee. He had a cortisone shot and was held out of Sunday's starting lineup, though he did pinch-hit in the sixth and stayed in the game.

"The knee's OK," Hamilton said on Monday. "This is the first time in a month that I've been able to flex my quad muscle, and there's no pain in my kneecap."

Hamilton started in center field on Monday, instead of his usual post in left. Craig Gentry, normally a center fielder, started in left against left-hander Cliff Lee in place of Julio Borbon.

"Hamilton, to me, seems to feel a little better when he's in center field," said Rangers manager Ron Washington in explanation of Monday's lineup. "His attitude is better. I haven't talked to Hamilton. I talk to him today during [batting practice]; he may want to change. The knee is fine."

Washington added that he had noticed Hamilton's recent struggles.

"It's just a matter of him wanting to be on the field," Washington said. "I recognized that the past eight or nine days. The knee's been bothering him for a while. My own opinion is he's starting to turn the corner. Sometimes you go out there and realize how important to the team you are even if you're not at your best. You can't be at your best all the time."