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Ryan expects Hamilton to test free agency

Ryan expects Hamilton to test free agency

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HOUSTON -- The Rangers have had ongoing contract discussions with Josh Hamilton and his agent, Mike Moye, since the offseason. But Rangers president Nolan Ryan said on Friday he doesn't expect anything to get done until after the season.

Ryan said the Rangers expect Hamilton will ultimately test the free-agent market.

"It's hard to predict what will happen, things just have to play out," Ryan said before the Rangers' game with the Astros. "I think Josh would like to stay in Arlington, he's very comfortable here and his family is very comfortable here. We're certainly hoping we can work a deal out.

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"I think they're probably of the mindset to go through the season, see what happens and see what the market is."

If Hamilton does become a free agent after this season, the Rangers are likely to have serious competition for his services.

"You can't worry about those things," Ryan said. "You just have to put your best foot forward. You don't know what somebody else will do. You just have to see what happens. What the timetable is, I don't know. If I had to guess, it would be at the end of November or in December."

Hamilton went into Friday's game leading the American League with a .399 batting average, 18 home runs and 45 RBIs. He was also leading with a .452 on-base percentage and an .826 slugging percentage. He is certainly not making it easy for the Rangers to let him just walk away.

"I wouldn't call it pressure," Ryan said. "I think everybody anticipated he would have a good year. He came into camp in good shape and focused. He's done everything possible to stay healthy. That was one of the things that people were concerned about, but he hasn't at all altered the way he's played the game. He still plays hard."

Hamilton reiterated on Friday that he is not letting his impending free agency affect his game on the field.

"No, not at all," Hamilton said. "Even if I wasn't having a good year, I wouldn't be worried about free agency. I'm under contract to the Rangers. God will have me where he wants me next year whether it's [with the Rangers] or somewhere else."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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