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Josh Hamilton puts deadline on talks

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said contract talks with the club can remain open until the start of spring training. After that, he wants to focus on the 2012 season.

Hamilton reiterated Saturday that he wants to stay in Texas, but that he doesn't want any contract discussions to distract from his preparation for the upcoming season. In the past, the Rangers have reached long -term deals during spring training.

"Let's change history," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he isn't looking at this next contract as his last, but would prefer it be one with a longer term, knowing his age. He turns 31 in May and has had a history of injury issues. He knows questions about his health and past naturally come up with media and fans when long-term deals are talked about. He's making $13.75 million this season and will then become a free agent.

"I'll get those questions whether I signed for 10 years or two years," Hamilton said. "Those questions won't stop."

Hamilton said he'd welcome Prince Fielder to Texas should the club sign him and isn't worried about what that might mean for his future with the Rangers. But it's possible the club would not be able to afford to sign Fielder and Hamilton.

"I haven't thought about any impact on my talks," Hamilton said. "I think it's great. I really do. To imagine our lineup with Prince Fielder in it is pretty ridiculous looking."

Hamilton's prime concern remains 2012.

"I'm focused on this year and doing what I need to do to get everything feeling great and I'm right on track for that," Hamilton said. "My focus is to help us win the World Series. That's all I'm thinking about, not any of that other stuff. Make the team the best you can or better so we can get that last out."

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.