Josh Hamilton limited by sore knee

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said that major league batting leader Josh Hamilton was moved from center field to designated hitter in a late lineup switch before Monday's game because the AL MVP candidate's right knee was bothering him.

Speaking after the Rangers' 3-0 win over the Kansas City Royals, Washington said the move was because of "aches and pains" and that Hamilton could be in the field on Tuesday.

Hamilton said he was OK when asked about his knee after going 2-for-5 on Monday. He's batting .359 with 31 home runs and 95 RBIs for the AL West-leading Rangers.

Hamilton has dealt with knee issues all season. He got a second cortisone shot in the knee on Aug. 1 after missing a game with tendinitis.

Vladimir Guerrero, who was originally listed as the designated hitter, started in right field Monday. Nelson Cruz shifted from right to left, and David Murphy moved from left to center.

Cruz, in his return from the disabled list, doubled in his first at-bat and went 1-for-4 and scored a run.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.