Josh Hamilton, day to day.

Hambone dings shoulder
Blast the breaking news sounder!
With Josh: So much ink.

Josh Hamilton is a physical specimen, a powerful, graceful, seven-skills ballplayer who could have pitched or played wide receiver or dominated on a hockey rink.

He’s also assaulted his body, on the field and off of it, and given his history, and the recent stack of evidence, his durability will always be part of the profile.  With Michael Young, you never ask about durability.  With Hamilton, you never don’t.

So when Hamilton bruised his left (throwing) shoulder during Wednesday’s first full-squad workout of camp – reportedly losing his balance while stretching for a pop-up and falling to the ground in what he described as an “embarrassing” moment – it was news.  Had it happened to David Murphy (and who’s to say it hasn’t?), we probably wouldn’t even know about it.

But this is Josh Hamilton, who in three big league seasons has had documented in-season instances of a rib cage strain, abdominal muscle tear, right wrist sprain, right hamstring strain and left hamstring strain, left knee inflammation, right hand bruise, right foot bruise, groin strain, lower back pinched nerve, gastroenteritis, viral infection, dizziness, and tooth abscess.  This is apparently nothing more than a shoulder bruise (with a muscle spasm near his neck), calling for a couple days off the field and some ice, but there’s a reason that a minor Milton Bradley injury would get more attention than a Marlon Byrd tweak, that a bark in Brandon McCarthy’s throwing arm would have been a bigger story than if it were Matt Harrison.

X-rays on Hamilton’s shoulder were happily negative, and he’s day-to-day.  Not perpetually so, like they used to say about Bradley, but he is for now.  Hopefully this story goes away in a week or two and is forgotten by time the games count.

The voiding of Khalil Greene’s contract reduces the roster to 41 players (Omar Beltre and Alexi Ogando don’t procedurally count against the limit of 40 until camp ends), but don’t expect the addition of another veteran infielder until much later in camp, if at all.  

For the time being, middle infielder Marcus Lemon has been given a non-roster invite, meaning he will train with the big league squad for at least a couple weeks before returning to minor league camp in preparation for a likely season-opening assignment to Oklahoma City.  Nice moment for Lemon, an all-world character kid whose ceiling is probably on a big league bench but who is solid across the board.

Derek Holland (knee sprain) is hoping to be back on a mound this weekend.  

According to Rangers assistant GM Thad Levine, the MRI on righthander Omar Poveda’s elbow was “fairly conclusive” in its indication of a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament, but the club awaits a second opinion from Dr. Lewis Yocum before scheduling season-ending Tommy John surgery for the 22-year-old.

Max Ramirez is working out at first base, according to a local report.  Meanwhile, Taylor Teagarden is said to be impressing early.  As they did in 2009, he and Jarrod Saltalamacchia will alternate starts once exhibition play begins March 6.

There are good things being said about McCarthy’s work and first baseman-outfielder Mitch Moreland’s bat speed.

Speaking of first base and rave reviews, according to one local report Justin Smoak is defending “significantly better” than he did last spring – but Ron Washington is quick to note that Chris Davis is the best defensive first baseman in the American League.

The Rangers signed Plano East product Wes Bankston to a minor league deal.  The 26-year-old corner infielder spent the first six years of his pro career in the Rays system, followed by one season with the Athletics (including a 59-at-bat look in Oakland) and one with the Reds.  He’s a lifetime .277/.341/.467 hitter in the minor leagues.

Word emerges from Baseball America assistant editor Ben Badler that the signing bonus Texas gave 16-year-old lefthander Victor Payano late in 2009 – months after his $900,000 deal with Boston was voided due to a failed physical – was $75,000.  

Boston righthander Josh Beckett, set to become a free agent after the season, told reporters last night that he doesn’t plan to negotiate an extension with the Red Sox during the season.

Florida and Tampa Bay are reportedly considering Hank Blalock.

The Yankees signed righthander Chan Ho Park.  Philadelphia signed outfielder Brad Wilkerson to a minor league deal – without an invite to big league camp.  Same with Colorado and lefthander Nick Bierbrodt.

Boston released righthander Edwin Moreno after having signed him to a minor league contract last month.  The 29-year-old has decided to pitch in Mexico in 2010.

The Fort Worth Cats of the independent American Association re-signed catcher Kelley Gulledge, son of Chuck Morgan.  The New Jersey Jackals of the independent Can-Am League signed infielder Enrique Cruz.  The Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League signed lefthander Ryan Knippschild.

LSU righthander Anthony Ranaudo, expected by many to be the first pitcher drafted this June, has been scratched for tonight’s start with discomfort in his throwing elbow.  Team officials are saying it’s not a ligament issue.  Texas drafted Ranaudo out of a New Jersey high school in the 11th round in 2007 but couldn’t persuade him to sign.  

The Rangers promoted Mike Daly from Assistant Director of International Scouting, removing “Assistant” from his title.

Oakland has rehired Grady Fuson, naming him special advisor to the baseball operations department.  Upon rehiring Fuson, A’s GM Billy Beane promptly threw a chair through a wall.

The Rangers’ “30 Clubs in 30 Days” feature on MLB Network is set to air on March 25 at 6:00 p.m.

Here’s hoping there’s no mention in the hour-long program of Josh Hamilton’s shoulder.


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(c) Jamey Newberg
Twitter  @newbergreport

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