Josh Hamilton is “clearly making progress” and will likely make his season debut for the Rangers early next week, general manager Jon Daniels told the Associated Press.
Hamilton has been playing at Double-A and Triple-A, basically treating it as spring training after February shoulder surgery followed by alcohol and drug relapses led to a trade from the Angels.
Daniels pegged the Rangers’ series against the Indians that begins next Monday as the “more likely” return date for Hamilton, who won an MVP award for Texas in 2010.
Hamilton had back-to-back disappointing seasons for the Angels, but his .741 OPS during that time was still slightly above the MLB average and as recently as 2012 he hit .285 with 43 homers and a .930 OPS in 148 games for the Rangers to finish fifth in the MVP voting.
With the Angels paying nearly all the money Hamilton is owed the Rangers have decided he’s worth taking a low-cost flier on and we’re about to start finding out if it was a smart move.