The Rangers announced that they have activated outfielder Josh Hamilton from the 60-day disabled list and placed him on unconditional release waivers. Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News (links to Twitter), the move is somewhat procedural in nature, as the club could look to sign him to a minor league deal after the season, and Hamilton has previously expressed a willingness to return in such an arrangement. Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram, in fact, tweets that Hamilton said last month that he expected to be released and sign a minor league pact this winter.
Hamilton missed the entire 2016 season due to a knee injury that proved to be more serious than initially believed. Hamilton was originally diagnosed with a torn meniscus but ultimately underwent an ACL reconstruction as well. He appeared in 50 games with Texas last season, batting .253/.291/.441 with eight homers in 182 plate appearances.
“We plan to monitor Josh’s progress as he continues his rehab process and is medically cleared this winter,” GM Jon Daniels explained to reporters (Twitter link via Grant). “Given the rules in place, releasing him before the end of this month allows us to keep the door open to extending the relationship in the future.” Had the Rangers waited until the offseason to release him, Hamilton wouldn’t have been eligible to return to the Major Leagues with Texas until May 15 of next season.