SURPRISE, Ariz. (AP) — Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton went to Houston on Sunday, facing the possibility of another knee surgery in his bid to return to the majors.
Hamilton will be examined Monday by Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed reconstructive surgery on the former AL MVP’s left knee last June.
The Rangers acknowledge Hamilton might require arthroscopic knee surgery. If he does, Hamilton would likely be out four to six weeks and then need a minor league rehab assignment.
“We’ll know once Dr. Lowe sees him,” Rangers assistant general manager Mike Daly said. “Josh felt and Dr. Lowe felt that he needed to go back down and get an evaluation.”
Hamilton was examined by Lowe in Houston last Wednesday after his knee flared up in running drills. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the discomfort.
Hamilton returned to camp on Thursday and he experienced discomfort after riding a stationary bike for two days.
The 35-year-old Hamilton played just one game in the minors last season while recovering. He was medically cleared in December and signed a minor league contract with Texas.
Hamilton was a five-time All-Star as an outfielder. He has been working out this spring at first base to put less wear and tear on the knee.
Hamilton has not played in more than 90 big league games in a season since 2013.
In 2010, he hit .359 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. In 2013, he hit 43 home runs with 128 RBIs.
“It is disappointing for Josh,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I feel for him. He came into camp feeling good. I’m sure that for him, this is a challenge.”
“This is a player that still has talent and capability. The curiosity is how long can a guy do it for and do it consistently,” he said.
There’s always a chance, too, that Hamilton might never play again.
“I don’t think anybody wants to take it to that extreme,” Daly said. “Josh has stated that he wants to play. That is why he is in camp. He wants to play and we want him to play. We’ll see what happens after Dr. Lowe looks at him.”
Hamilton has a $24 million contract for 2017 and the Los Angeles Angels are obligated to pay the Rangers $22 million to cover most of it.
This is the final season of the $125 million, five-year deal he signed with the Angels as a free agent before the 2013 season, though they traded him back to Texas two years later.