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.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.