Josh Hamilton hopes to return in “two to three weeks”

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Buster Olney of ESPN.com hinted in his column this morning that Josh Hamilton could be back before the end of the month, but now we have it directly from the horse’s mouth.

Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com earlier today that he hopes to be back with the Rangers in “two to three weeks.”

“I haven’t had any pain,” Hamilton said. “Each day I come back, I want to be sore from doing exercises and things like that with no pain and that’s what it’s been so far. All my strength’s back.”

Hamilton, who suffered a fractured right humerus on April 12, has swung a fungo bat each of the last three days and took 125 swings off a tee this afternoon. He actually wanted to use a real bat for the second half of his drills, but the Rangers put the kibosh on that. It will likely be a couple days before he takes that step.

The Rangers originally estimated that Hamilton would be sidelined for approximately 6-8 weeks with the injury, so it looks like he could meet that low end of that timeline.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.