ST. PETERSBURG -- Josh Hamilton was used as the designated hitter for the second straight game on Wednesday, the first time this season he has done so in back-to-back games. Manager Ron Washington said the decision was more as a preventative measure than anything else.
"I just want to get him off the turf and keep him healthy heading into September," Washington said. "The past three series against the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox have been physically and mentally stressful for all the guys, so any rest they can get is a good thing."
Hamilton, who had an injury-plagued 2009 campaign, is having an MVP-caliber season but is 1-for-8 with a walk and three HBPs over the past three games. This is the first time he has had as few as one hit in a span of three straight starts since May 14-16 at Toronto's Rogers Centre -- coincidentally, a turf field as well.
With Hamilton at DH, David Murphy started at left, Julio Borbon in center and Vladimar Guerrero in right, as they did on Tuesday.
"It'll be a good thing for Vlad to be out in the field again to feel comfortable again," Washington said. "He started elevating the ball last night, so playing out there for another game may continue to help him. I'll just keep my fingers crossed with him on the turf."
Guererro went 1-for-4 with a hard-hit double to left-center on Tuesday and hit a liner to left field that Rays left fielder Carl Crawford tracked down with some effort. With the hit, Guererro has a five-game hitting streak but is batting .206 over his last nine games.