Hamilton, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list on June 4 with a strained left hamstring, said that his hamstring feels comfortable "to a certain extent," but that it stills feels uncomfortable when he lengthens his stride. The outfielder has been focusing on shortening his steps when running, which he says limits the soreness.
"That's what I did today and it went really good," Hamilton said. "Felt easy, felt not awkward. Felt good, so I'm happy with that. Also, happy with the level of intensity as it was. So I'm good to go."
While he is set to return to the lineup in the near future, Hamilton did admit that his hamstring is only 80-85 percent healthy. He could wait even longer to get back on the field, but wants to return and play a few games before the All-Star break.
The goal for Hamilton is to be full-go for the second half of the season, but he would like to return to a game environment and see some pitches before the break, even if that means being limited in some aspects.
"If a guy leads off with a double, and maybe you could catch it if you're running 100 percent, then maybe you need to back off at 85 and let him have it for now until you get back to where you want to be," Hamilton said. "I definitely want to be out there, want to play every day, but right now that's not the case. The ultimate goal is to be ready to roll after the All-Star break."
Banister has no reservations about putting Hamilton in the outfield, and will feel good when the decision does happen, given the reports from Hamilton and Rangers medical staff.
The skipper did admit that a tough decision would have to be made in a corresponding move for Hamilton's activation, but knows what the outfielder brings to his squad.
"The presence and potential is obviously there," Banister said. "This is a former MVP, he can shrink a ballpark in all directions, exceptional athlete. I know that pitchers pay attention to him when he is in the lineup and where he is at."
Hamilton has played in just seven games with the Rangers this season since being acquired from the Angels on April 27. In his brief stint on the field, Hamilton hit .273/.386/.636 with five RBIs, two home runs and five runs scored in 22 at-bats.
"Going through what I went through at the beginning of the season, being traded and being back here, coming back and playing that first week and a half and all the exciting things that happened," Hamilton said. "Then the hamstring happening. I want to be back and I want to play and want to play every day."
In other Rangers injury news:
• First baseman Kyle Blanks (Achilles tendinitis) saw specialist Dr. Crates recently and is continuing his rehab. Blanks has not progressed to baseball activity yet.
• Nick Tepesch (right elbow inflammation) is rehabbing in Surprise, Ariz., and is scheduled for live batting practice on Wednesday.
• Ross Ohlendorf (right groin strain) is scheduled to throw every 2-3 days depending on recovery when he pitches.
• Derek Holland (subscapular strain in left shoulder) is long tossing out to 120 feet. Holland will have an MRI exam later this week, and will wait on those results before he moves to throwing off a mound.
Connor Smolensky is an associate reporter for MLB.com.