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Hamilton not in starting lineup Sunday

Hamilton not in starting lineup Sunday

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ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup in Sunday's home finale with the Rangers playing a day game and facing a left-handed starter in Tampa Bay's David Price.

But signs are pointing to Hamilton having an impact in the final week of the season with the Rangers facing some important games.

It's a huge boost considering third baseman Michael Young is also expected to play in the opener of a four-game series in Anaheim against the Angels on Monday.

Hamilton, who started Friday and Saturday after missing 19 games with a pinched nerve in his back, had a season-high four RBIs in a 15-3 victory over the Rays.

Hamilton was 0-for-7 since his return, before the bottom of the fifth Saturday, when his three-run double capped a 11-run inning. He doubled again in the bottom of the eighth to center field.

"It took him seven at-bats," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I was looking for about 10, saying about 10 before you finally figure things out."

It helped that Hamilton, who has struggled to drive in runs after tallying an American League-leading 130 RBIs last year, had chances with runners in scoring position so close to his return. Hamilton, who now has 54 RBIs, also drove in a run in Friday's 8-3 win over the Rays, even though he was 0-for-4. He has a more Hamilton-like 25 RBIs in his last 32 games entering Sunday.

"He kept getting opportunities," Washington said. "Anytime you get more opportunities you have to get yourself to a more focusable level."

Todd Willis is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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