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Josh Hamilton feels good in workouts

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton said Monday that he's healthy and focused on the 2012 season.

Hamilton, who had offseason surgery to repair torn adductors in his left leg and a torn abdominal muscle, said he's doing full workouts, including weight lifting and agility drills, and is swinging a bat.

"Everything feels good," Hamilton said.

Hamilton, who had surgery in November, was hurt throughout the postseason for the AL champion Rangers.

The 2010 AL MVP and four-time All-Star is going into the last year of his contract with Texas. He is set to make $13.75 million this season as part of the $24 million, two-year deal he got before last season to avoid salary arbitration.

Hamilton said he hasn't heard anything from his agent in regards to a long-term contract extension with the club. He maintains that the start of spring training is the deadline for getting a deal done so that if it's not completed, he can focus on the 2012 season.

The outfielder, chatting with the media before signing autographs and answering questions from fans as part of the Rangers Winter Caravan at Academy Sports and Outdoors in Fort Worth on Monday, said he's heard the fan and media debate about whether the Rangers should sign him or Prince Fielder to a long contract.

Rangers co-chairman Bob Simpson said Friday that personally, he'd like to see Hamilton re-signed over obtaining Fielder, but acknowledged that it was something the club would have to discuss if Fielder even became a possibility.

"I've seen a little bit of it," Hamilton said. "I think it comes down to what you want. When I see these guys comparing us, I'm like, 'Stick him in the outfield and see how long he lasts. Stick me at first base and see how long I last.' You never can tell about a player. He's played 160 games a lot. I haven't. So there's pros and cons [on] both sides. It's pretty funny to watch these guys compare us and share their thoughts. It's always been trusting in the Lord to have me where he wants to have me and not stress about it. I haven't stressed about it and I'm not going to stress about it."

He reiterated he'd like to get all the contract talk out of the way before spring training begins.

"It kind of helps both sides," Hamilton said. "It puts some urgency on getting something done and also if it doesn't get done, I can focus on what I need to do and not worry about it. It's very important to have a clear mind and be focused on what you need to do to help the team win."

Hamilton said that even if he doesn't reach a deal with the Rangers by the beginning of spring training, he wants to stay.

"We've already told the Rangers that if it doesn't happen before the season that they are the first ones we'll come to after the season is over," Hamilton said.

The Rangers announced this month that Hamilton's father-in-law had been hired as a staff special assistant to fill a support role as an accountability partner for the slugger, who had problems with drugs and alcohol in the past. But Michael Dean Chadwick has since decided against accepting that position due to "family considerations."

Hamilton said he has "a guy in mind" to fill that role but the person hasn't yet met with the Rangers.

Johnny Narron filled that role before he left in November to become Milwaukee's hitting coach. Narron joined the Rangers when Hamilton was acquired four years ago in a trade from Cincinnati. His primary role was to support the former No. 1 overall draft pick, who rebounded from his substance-abuse problems.

Hamilton said he plans to leave for spring training on Feb. 17, a full week before the full-squad reporting date in Arizona.

"It's time to go, baby," he said.

Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.