DETROIT -- Rangers center fielder Josh Hamilton said on Thursday night that he's playing through a painful left groin strain that is curtailing his power production. The left-handed-hitting Hamilton explained that the injury is to his back leg when he's at the plate, affecting his ability to drive the ball. "My power side," Hamilton said after the Rangers dropped Game 5 of the American League Championship Series, 7-5, to the Tigers at Comerica Park. Texas leads the best-of-seven series, three games to two, with the first pitch of Game 5 slated for 7:05 CT on Saturday night at Rangers Ballpark, where Texas won the first two games.
Hamilton said this is not a new injury. "I've been dealing with it for a month," he said. Hamilton had a single, a double and a sacrifice fly in five plate appearances on Thursday, four of which came against Detroit ace Justin Verlander. The nagging injury would explain why Hamilton has no homers and six RBIs in nine games this postseason. He's still batting .297 -- 11-for-37 -- with five doubles. Hamilton struck out once against the hard-throwing Verlander and said he had to make an adjustment. "I choked up [on the bat] about four inches," Hamilton said. "That seemed to make a difference." Hamilton missed nearly six weeks early in the season after fracturing a bone just below his right shoulder while sliding into home plate. But he said there's no time to recover from the groin injury now. "This is the playoffs, and you just have to work through it, deal with it," Hamilton said. "There'll be plenty of time to rest and get it right in the offseason."
Barry M. Bloom is national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.