Thursday, October 20, 2011
How badly is Josh Hamilton hurting?
By Jeff Caplan
ST. LOUIS -- The Texas Rangers most dynamic offensive force is clearly not well. Josh Hamilton has tried to persevere through a left groin strain since late September. In Game 1 of the World Series, Hamilton couldn't hide the pain.
Just how badly is he hurting?
"You'll have to ask Josh," Michael Young said.
That was impossible after Wednesday's 3-2 loss in which Hamilton went 0-for-4 and was visibly wincing after swinging the bat. Hamilton never made it out of the trainer's room to address the media before the Rangers closed up shop and whisked reporters out.
It has become painfully clear, however, that Hamilton's left groin is affecting his ability to hit, and hit for power. He has not homered since Sept. 23, meaning he's still searching for his first long ball of the postseason in 45 at-bats. The 2010 American League MVP has still managed to hit .286, with five of his 12 hits going for doubles.
Still, no home runs in 11 postseason games is glaring. In Game 1 on a windy, 40-degree night, Hamilton went 0-for-4 with a groundout, a strikeout and two harmless fly balls to center, one coming in an eighth-inning matchup against former Rangers lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes. On several swings the TV cameras caught Hamilton wincing. The sore groin is clearly causing him discomfort when he swings and it would appear to be zapping his power.
After clinching the AL pennant, Hamilton told Ben Rogers of the Ben & Skin Show on 103.3 FM ESPN that he was playing at just 50 percent, but there is absolutely no indication that he will not play in Game 2 and beyond, or that manager Ron Washington would even consider dropping him out of the three-hole.
"He's been battling through it basically since the end of the season," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "The cold weather is never good. He's battled through it and he's going to do the same thing [today]."