Hamilton examined by noted back specialist

Hamilton examined by noted back specialist

ANAHEIM -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton spent Monday being examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, a well-known back specialist in Southern California. Hamilton has been sidelined since Sept. 4 with a bruised right rib cage, and the Rangers are exploring all avenues trying to get him ready for the playoffs.

Hamilton has reported little improvement since the injury occurred, and the Rangers are increasingly concerned if he'll be ready for the playoffs. They were hoping that he might be able to return to the lineup at some point on this road trip, but that is becoming increasingly unlikely.

That would leave seven games on the final homestand leading up to the playoffs and could give Hamilton the opportunity for 25-30 at-bats in the last week.

"It's just a situation where we have to be patient," manager Ron Washington said. "Anything further than that is speculation, and I'm not good at speculating. We'll just wait and see how it goes. Miracles happen."

The Rangers will wait until the end. Even if Hamilton doesn't play again during the regular season, if he's healthy enough to be in the lineup for the playoffs, he will be in there.

"When he's ready to play, he's going to get at-bats," Washington said. "If we get to the playoffs and he's healthy and hasn't had at-bats, he'll just have to figure it out. It's all about his health."

The Rangers did not have the results of Hamilton's eight hours of testing from Monday. He will have more tests on Tuesday.