Josh Hamilton's goal in 2012: stay healthy
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton only has one goal this season. And it's not winning the Triple Crown.
"I think about staying healthy, first and foremost," Hamilton said Sunday. "I know if I play a lot of games, these numbers will end up where they need to be."
Hamilton's goal is to play in at least 150 games. He's done that just once in his career, playing in 156 games in 2008, his first season in Texas. He played just 89 games in an injury-riddled 2009 season and won the AL MVP in 2010 despite missing the final month of the season with fractured ribs after hitting a wall in Minnesota in early September.
Last year, Hamilton missed nearly six weeks after a headfirst slide at home plate in Detroit caused a hairline fracture of his upper arm. He also played through injuries in the postseason, getting off-season hernia surgery to repair torn adductors.
But Hamilton came to spring training feeling healthy and ready. He has missed just three games this season because of a tight back, which he said finally loosened up on him on Saturday.
He's still going to dive for balls in the outfield, try to scale walls (without banging into them hard) and even headfirst slide at first base, making manager Ron Washington cringe.
"I think (150 games is) a reasonable goal," said Hamilton, who is playing in the final year of his contract in Texas. "You guys know I play hard. But that doesn't prevent me, thinking I'm going to get hurt, from playing hard. I feel like if I don't play hard, I'll end up hurting something. Like Wash says, he always tells me, 'Just be in the lineup.' He says, 'Presence, there's something to say for that.'
"We've got a lot of guys throughout the lineup that can get the job done. I just want to be in there and be a part of it."
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