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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Take a Break

April 2009: Strained ribs
June 2009: Torn abdominal muscle
September 2009: Pinched nerve in neck
May 2010: Knee trouble
June 2010: Hamstring tightness
September 2010: Fractured ribs
April 2011: Fractured arm

The reigning MVP just can't seem to get a break. Or rather, he can, but I'm sure the break he wanted wasn't the bone in his shoulder. Josh Hamilton is on the disabled-list again, this time fracturing the humerus bone of his right shoulder on a head first slide into home plate. The Rangers' slugger was aggressively waved home by Texas third base coach Dave Anderson and, to add to breaking his arm, was tagged out at home. Hamilton's career isn't all filled with bad luck, of course. Hamilton is a three-time All Star, two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and, of course, was the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player Award winner. In 2010, he batted .359, with 32 home runs, and an even 100 runs batted in. He capped it off with a .411 on-base percentage and a league-leading .633 slugging percentage, which culminated into a Major League best 1.044 OPS. This was completed in 133 games, as Hamilton was limited by the previously listed rib injury in September.

Hamilton was off to a solid start here in 2011, with a .333/.409/.462 slashline in 11 games. He's expected to miss six-to-eight weeks, which would sideline him until late-May/early-June. It should go without saying that this will be a pretty big loss for the Rangers, however short the period of time may be. It's not just the potent bat that Hamilton brings to the table. It's the team motivation he brings every time he takes the field, the smart decisions on the bases and in the outfield. It's knowing when to take the aggressive approach, and when to be patient. It's the feeling a pitcher no doubt gets when he sees Hamilton is in the lineup, whether it be his own teammate having a strong belief he'll get offense from the MVP, or whether it be the opposition, knowing he has to face one of the best sluggers in the current game multiple times. It'll be a long two months for Josh Hamilton, watching his team play without him. It'll be a long two months for Rangers' fans, waiting to cheer on their ever-feared MVP. And it'll be a long two months for the Rangers as a team, playing the game without their centerpiece on the field. However, on the field or not, it's safe to say Josh Hamilton will make a contribution. Don't be too surprised to see an excited Hamilton in the dugout every night, giving the defending AL Champs any motivation they need.

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