Josh Hamilton back in lineup

Updated: July 30, 2012, 10:00 AM ET
By Richard Durrett | ESPNDallas.com

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was back in the lineup as expected Sunday. But the former MVP is batted fifth, instead of his normal No. 3 spot, and served as the Rangers' designated hitter.

Hamilton went 0-for-2 with two walks and scored a run in the Rangers' 2-0 win.

Rangers manager Ron Washington had Adrian Beltre batting third, like he did on Saturday when Hamilton was out, and Nelson Cruz hit in the cleanup spot.

Hamilton was given Saturday off as more of a mental break, according to Washington. And Hamilton vowed that his two-month slump would be coming to an end soon when asked about it prior to Saturday's game.

"It's going to be good folks," said Hamilton, who was booed by some fans after a couple of strikeouts in Friday's loss to the Chicago White Sox. "Fans out there: It's going to be good. Just hang in there."

Hamilton entered Sunday hitting just .145 with three homers, 10 RBIs, 20 strikeouts and six walks in July, dropping his batting average to a season-low .284. He went 0 for 4 with two RBIs and had a rough game defensively in Friday's loss to the White Sox, causing some fans to boo the slugger after he struck out on three pitches with runners in scoring position in the fifth inning.

Washington said that by dropping Hamilton out of the No. 3 spot, it might relax the slugger a little.

"I hope it slows him down a little bit," Washington said before Sunday's game. "Just trying to take a little bit off, that's all. Not that it will. There's tension all throughout the lineup, but it might help."

Hamilton has played DH at times this year and by doing it on Sunday, it gives the outfielder a half-day off of sorts. Hamilton said before the game that he felt a little more rested, thanks to Thursday's off day for the club and the fact that he didn't do anything -- including pinch-hit -- on Saturday. He added that he doesn't care where he's hitting in the lineup.

"I think (Washington) thinks that five (hole) worked a couple years ago," Hamilton said. "I ended up having an MVP-type season, so we'll go with that again."

Hamilton last batted fifth in 2010, his MVP season. He ended up with 207 at-bats in that spot and hit .411 there with 13 homers and 43 RBIs. So it was certainly a good position in the lineup for him then.

Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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