OAKLAND -- Josh Hamilton received a call from Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury on Saturday morning. They had a long discussion about fractured ribs and tight back muscles subject to spasms. Ellsbury has missed almost the entire season with five fractured ribs on his left side and understands what Hamilton's going through. Hamilton has two small fractures in his right rib cage, but is also dealing with spasms in a back muscle that's related to the injury.
"He told me exactly what I'm feeling," Hamilton said. "He said he made the mistake of focusing only on the ribs and not doing anything to loosen up the back. The muscle is what I've been feeling from the beginning. That's where most of my pain has come from. That's something that I feel if I can get under control, I can get back quickly." Right now, Hamilton continues to focus on running and core exercises. Next will come twisting exercises and then baseball activities, with the goal still being to play in the last weekend of the regular season. Hamilton has been sidelined since Sept. 4, when he injured the rib cage running into the center-field wall in a game against the Twins at Target Field. While he has been out, he has been sitting on a .361 batting average that as of Saturday morning is 30 points better than the next hitter. Joe Mauer is second with a .331 average. Right now, Hamilton is in position to become the third Rangers player to win a batting title, following Julio Franco in 1991 and Michael Young in 2005. The .361 average would also be a new club record. Franco's .341 average in 1991 is currently the highest by a Rangers player in one season.