Hamilton readying to return

SEATTLE -- Josh Hamilton felt great a day after testing his strained ribs by throwing -- so great, he unexpectedly threw some more.

The Rangers All-Star starting outfielder and 2008 AL RBI leader said after his surging team beat the Seattle Mariners in 10 innings on Tuesday for its fourth consecutive victory that he expects to return to Texas' lineup on May 12. That's when he is eligible to come off the disabled list he's been on since he ran into a wall last month.

"A lot better today," Hamilton said, after taking a bulky wrap off his left side late Tuesday afternoon. "I thought I'd be a little sore today and I wasn't."

He plans to hit some on Wednesday with the team in Oakland; he hasn't swung a bat since April 27. He said the Rangers' plan is to have him play a couple rehabilitation games this weekend for Triple-A Oklahoma City in its series at Round Rock, Texas, and then have him return Tuesday when the Rangers begin a six-game homestand against Seattle and the Los Angeles Angels.

"Unless something happens, I don't see why not," Hamilton said of being able to return then.

Hamilton said he still feels something in his ribs.

"Before it was pain. Now it's tightness a little bit," he said.

Hamilton was placed on the 15-day disabled list Friday, retroactive to April 27. After the injury in Toronto when he crashed into the outfield wall while chasing a flyball, he started a game in Baltimore on April 25, pinch-hit the next day and then was unavailable for two games against Oakland last week.

In his first season in the major leagues as an everyday player last season following years of injuries and a drug addiction, Hamilton batted .304 with 32 home runs and 130 RBIs. He became the first to win AL player of the month awards in the first two months of a season.