Hamilton gets into opener, eyes Tuesday start

Hamilton gets into opener, eyes Tuesday start

Hamilton gets into opener, eyes Tuesday start
SAN DIEGO -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was not in the starting lineup for Monday night's series opener with the Padres, though he entered late in the game.

Hamilton, who has been out of the lineup since leaving last Thursday's game with a stomach virus, plans to be in the lineup for Tuesday night's game.

Hamilton decided early in the day to take some extra time to ensure he would have the stamina to make it through a full game.

"My stomach's a little jacked up, but I hit early BP and it feels good," Hamilton said. "Told 'Wash' [manager Ron Washington] when I got here today I didn't wanna jump back into anything as far as the game. I wanted to come back in, get some work in, see how my body responds to it."

Apparently it responded well, as Washington used Hamilton in the ninth inning of the Rangers' 2-1 victory in left field.

Hamilton, who is hitting .330 with 22 homers and a Major League-leading 62 RBIs, lost 10 pounds, and the virus forced him to be hospitalized Friday, though he had recovered enough by Sunday to return to the Rangers.

Washington said before Monday's game that he would have started his star in the series opener had Hamilton told him he was ready.

"He just wanted to work and see how he felt," Washington said. "He didn't want to go out there and then third or fourth inning say he can't make it. ... The way he was running balls down in the outfield and the way he was swinging the bat, it looked like he's gonna be fine."

Washington said there are no concerns about Hamilton spreading the virus to other players, though Hamilton's family was also afflicted. His wife and daughter also battled the virus, though he says all are now home from the hospital and almost over the illness.

"I don't know where we got it, but we got it, and it's over ... mostly," Hamilton said. "It's June. You don't wanna rush back out there, set yourself back, and then be out even longer. If everything goes good I'll jump back in there tomorrow."