Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Updated: April 13, 1:55 PM ET
Injured Josh Hamilton out 6-8 weeks
By Richard Durrett
DETROIT -- Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was put on the disabled list and is expected to miss six to eight weeks after sustaining a small fracture in his upper right arm Tuesday while diving into home plate on a play he called "stupid."
Hamilton, who was wearing a sling after the game, was hurt trying to score after tagging up from third base on a ball caught in foul territory in front of the Tigers' dugout. The 2010 AL MVP said third-base coach Dave Anderson sent him because Tigers pitcher Brad Penny wasn't covering home plate while catcher Victor Martinez and third baseman Brandon Inge chased down Adrian Beltre's popup.
"It was just a stupid play," Hamilton said. "I definitely shouldn't have done it."
Inge caught the ball and tossed it to Martinez, who was racing home, and the catcher was able to tag out Hamilton as he made a headfirst dive.
"I listened to my third-base coach," Hamilton said. "That's a little too aggressive. The whole time I was watching the play I was listening. [He said] 'Nobody's at home, nobody's at home.' I was like, 'Dude, I don't want to do this. Something's going to happen.' But I listened to my coach. And how do you avoid a tag the best? By going in headfirst and get out of the way and get in there. That's what I did."
Anderson said after the game that he hadn't had a chance to talk the play over with Hamilton because the slugger was getting tests done. But Anderson said it was a play he would have tried with any of the club's speed guys.
"There was nobody covering home plate, so we tried to steal a run there," Anderson said. "He made a pretty good play. That's a tough play for a catcher, running away and shovel pass and try to tag a guy. There was an opportunity with two outs and we tried to take advantage of it."
Anderson said he would have preferred that Hamilton hadn't dived in headfirst.
"I always want him to slide feet first no matter what he does," Anderson said. "You play this game long enough, and I've gone through it too, sliding headfirst, and have had some injuries. Sometimes you can't help it, your instinct just tells you to dive and try to get there. But most of the time you try to go feet first if you can to try to stay away from injuries."
After Hamilton was tagged out at the plate, he walked to the dugout with his arm behind his back. He then tried to take some swings, but when he stopped his swing he felt a lot of pain.
"He just came up and told me he couldn't go and that was it," manager Ron Washington said.
General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton won't be able to swing a bat for a month. The injury is being termed a non-displaced fracture of the humerus bone.
The fracture was small enough that it wasn't detected on an X-ray, but Daniels held a conference call about two hours after the game with results from an MRI exam.
"Obviously, he's a big part of our club," Daniels said. "We built the club to deal with something like this."
Daniels, who admitted he hasn't seen the play yet because he's been visiting the club's Class A team in Hickory, said he was fine with Anderson's decision to send Hamilton.
"I have absolutely no issue with Dave sending him," Daniels said. "We play an aggressive style of baseball. We run. We take the extra base. The chances of getting hurt on that play are minimal. I've encouraged Dave to keep being aggressive."
Hamilton said he heard two pops from his shoulder after he slid into home.
"I'm a little worried," Hamilton said before he learned his fate.
Ian Kinsler took Hamilton's place as the designated hitter for the rest of Tuesday's game.
Ironically, Hamilton was at DH as part of the Rangers' effort to keep their fragile star healthy. They've also been limiting his time in center field, keeping him primarily in left, to reduce the risks.
Chris Davis was called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Wednesday to take Hamilton's roster spot.
The injury means David Murphy will see more time in the outfield. First baseman Mitch Moreland can play the outfield and is now the de facto fourth outfielder. Davis is not expected to play the outfield but would play primarily at first base.
Hamilton has had injury issues during his career. He missed most of last September after hitting a wall at Target Field in Minnesota and cracking a few ribs. He was healthy in time for the postseason and was the ALCS MVP in the club's six-game win over the Yankees.
In 2009, Hamilton was limited to 89 games when he had two stints on the disabled list after separate wall-crashing catches.
Hamilton hit .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs in 2010. He's hitting .333 this season.
The Rangers gave him a $24 million, two-year contract in February, avoiding arbitration.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
It was just a stupid play. I definitely shouldn't have done it.
-- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton