The Rangers told reporters today that Josh Hamilton will be sidelined following arthroscopic surgery to repair the cartilage in his left knee (Twitter link via Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News). Hamilton won’t be able to begin running for six weeks, and any potential return to a game setting figures to be further down the road than that. Hamilton’s ACL, which was surgically repaired last June, did not have any damage. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweets that Hamilton will be out “well into the season,” but adds that there’s been no talk of him calling it a career just yet.
The 35-year-old Hamilton was in camp with the Rangers as a non-roster invitee and was hopeful of securing a roster spot as an option for Texas at first base, though this latest setback raises significantly more doubt about his ability to return to a Major League field. The previously mentioned surgery to repair Hamilton’s ACL also included a meniscus repair, and this new operation represents the fourth procedure on his left knee since returning to Texas.
Hamilton hasn’t played in the Majors since the conclusion of the 2015 campaign. His last work in the bigs resulted in a .253/.291/.441 batting line over the life of 182 plate appearances. The 2017 season is technically the final year of the five-year, $125MM contract he signed with the Angels in the 2012-13 offseason. Anaheim remains on the hook for the vast majority of that deal, as the Rangers were only picking up $2MM of his salary on an annual basis following the deal.