Josh Hamilton has had a pair of knee surgeries since last appearing in a major league game and doesn’t seem to have a position with the Rangers, but he still believes he’ll open the season with Texas.
“Sure,” the former American League MVP said Thursday, via MLB.com. “If I’m healthy, I know I’ll get out there and perform.”
He’ll have to prove it to the Rangers, whose roster is sufficiently stocked that anything they get from Hamilton in 2017 would be a bonus. He’s in camp on a minor league contract and the Angels are paying the vast majority of the $28.4 million Hamilton is owed in the final year of a deal he signed entering the 2013 season.
It’s up to Hamilton, then, to demonstrate that he’s worth a spot on the 25-man roster as a part-time first baseman, outfielder, DH, or bat off the bench. He last played in a major league game in October 2015, and turns 36 in May, but he’s confident his head and body are right after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last summer.
“I am getting older but at the same time I can still do the things I used to do and I’ve seen glimpses,” he said. “It’s about getting there on a more consistent basis. Overall health is great. Most important thing is mental health and peace is good.”
Hamilton admitted considering retirement, acknowledging how difficult it would be for him to approach the levels he performed at during his first stint with Texas, but ultimately decided to take one last shot.
“I have a lot left,” he said. “A whole lot. I’ve got a good feeling.”
By Marc Lancaster