Hamilton gets cortisone shot for ailing ribs

Hamilton gets cortisone shot for ailing ribs

SEATTLE -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton had received two cortisone injections on Wednesday in an attempt to ease the pain and discomfort from his bruised right rib cage.

Hamilton, who is with the Rangers on the trip, has been sidelined since Sept. 4, after injuring his rib cage falling against a wall at Target Field in Minnesota. He has not resumed baseball activities.

"Right now, as far as treatment, we're throwing everything we can at this thing," Hamilton said.

Manager Ron Washington is hoping that Hamilton can start taking batting practice on Monday in Anaheim and can return to the lineup during a four-game series against the Athletics that starts on Thursday in Oakland. That would give Hamilton 11 games to get ready for the playoffs.

"That would be enough at-bats for him to get back in the groove," Washington said. "The shots should take affect by the time we get out of [Seattle on Sunday], so hopefully he can start doing things by the time we get to Anaheim."

Hamilton may be used some at designated hitter to get those at-bats, but the Rangers want him back in the outfield. He'll play left when Julio Borbon is in the lineup, but Washington also made it clear that Hamilton will be his center fielder when David Murphy is in the lineup.

"If I have to put him in center field, I will not hesitate," Washington said.

Hamilton still leads the American League with a .361 batting average, which would also be a club record. He already has enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting crown, and has a chance to be the third Rangers player to lead the league in hitting. Julio Franco did it with a club-record .341 batting average in 1990 and Michael Young won with a .331 average in 2005.

He is also leading the league with a .414 on-base percentage and a .635 slugging percentage. Joe Mauer led the league in all three categories last year. Before that, the last player to lead the AL in all three categories was George Brett with the Royals in 1980.