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Rangers, Hamilton part ways after new injury

Slugger released from Minor League contract, plans to have right knee surgery
Special to MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers released Josh Hamilton from his Minor League contract Friday, after he suffered a right knee injury while rehabilitating a left knee injury in Houston.

Hamilton, 35, re-signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers in January, but he underwent left knee surgery in late February. He was placed on the disabled list at Triple-A Round Rock at the end of Spring Training and began rehab for the left knee.

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ARLINGTON -- The Rangers released Josh Hamilton from his Minor League contract Friday, after he suffered a right knee injury while rehabilitating a left knee injury in Houston.

Hamilton, 35, re-signed a Minor League deal with the Rangers in January, but he underwent left knee surgery in late February. He was placed on the disabled list at Triple-A Round Rock at the end of Spring Training and began rehab for the left knee.

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"I am disappointed but not discouraged that my knee problems have not allowed me to play this season," Hamilton said in a release. "I plan to have surgery on my right knee, and then evaluate the situation. I want to thank the Rangers and all of the great fans for the support and encouragement. I really appreciate it."

President of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels said the injury occurred a couple of weeks ago while Hamilton was working on his hitting. The right knee hyperextended or rolled. Hamilton put on a brace, but it continued to bother him, so he visited his doctor in Houston. The injury involved an outside ligament.

If Hamilton was 25 years old, he would be out for the year, Daniels said, giving an indication of how serious it is, not even factoring in Hamilton's history of knee problems or his future quality of life. Even before his most recent knee injuries, Hamilton's chance of making it back to the Majors was a long shot. This may be the end of Hamilton's baseball career, or at least his Rangers career.

"He's in a really good spot, all things considered," Daniels said about Hamilton. "The reality is his body's not allowing him to play, period, much less at the level we're accustomed to seeing him play at. On a personal level, with his family, he's in a really good place, and that's rewarding for all of us. … We're appreciative of what he's given to the franchise, to the community off the field. He's going to continue to be part of the community. Some of the greatest moments in Rangers history involve No. 32. We wish him all the best with his knees and his family."

Hamilton starred for the Rangers from 2008-12, earning five All-Star Game appearances and winning the 2010 American League MVP Award. After two years with the Los Angeles Angels, he returned to the Rangers in 2015 and played 50 games, hitting .253 with eight home runs. But several knee surgeries kept him out of baseball since then.

Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli spent two of those first five years with Hamilton. Upon being told the news Friday, he recounted his memories of Hamilton during that stretch of years. It's how a lot of Rangers fans will remember his career.

"It was something special, something you don't see from a player, doing the things he was able to do," Napoli said. "I was a little younger, able to watch him. It seemed like he hit a homer every at-bat, or did something spectacular. I'll never forget those times where he put up those impressive numbers and helped us win."

Chris Vannini is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington, Texas, and covered the Rangers on Friday.

Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton