Health concerns and injuries have unfortunately defined Josh Hamilton‘s time in the big leagues, a career that was supposed to be filled with superstar accolades and a potential Hall of Fame resume.

The former number-one overall draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays has not lived up to the hype, and is having more problems with his left knee.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reported yesterday that for the second straight season, the Texas Rangers outfielder will start the year on the disabled list.

The Rangers revealed this news saying that the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player had an injection of stem cells and platelet-rich plasma into his left knee on Tuesday in Alabama.

After undergoing this procedure, performed by Dr. Jeffery Dugas, Hamilton returned to the Rangers’ spring training facility in Surprise, Arizona, on crutches.

According to the report, Hamilton can walk on the leg just fine, but Dr. Dugas recommended taking weight off the knee for at least the next 10 days.

Hamilton also started last year on the DL, recovering from shoulder surgery. The 35-year-old is signed through 2017 as part of a five-year, $114.33 million deal.

Hamilton has only played in 139 games in the last two years. Last season he hit .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBIs.

Thanks in large part to health issues, the veteran has never been able to regain his 2010 form, when he led the American League with a .359 batting average hitting 32 long balls, driving in 100 runs. In 2008 he also had 32 home runs and led the AL in RBIs with 130.

It’s hard to see Hamilton getting many more chances to resurrect his career. At his age, he doesn’t have many seasons left, and he can’t seem to stay on the field.

As far as how this news affects the Rangers, as Assistant General Manager Thad Levine told Grant, it doesn’t change much because Texas didn’t expect Hamilton to be a 140-game left fielder.

The Rangers have several options to choose from that are still on the free agent market including Austin Jackson, Will Venable, and David Murphy. The team has talked to Murphy about a minor-league deal, and Venable and Jackson will likely cost more money.

Whoever the Rangers decide to sign, its clear that Texas needs to think about what they are going to do long-term both in left and with Hamilton.

About The Author

Joe Jacquez

Joe Jacquez is a sophomore at Mesa Community College covering the Arizona Diamondbacks and Major League Baseball. He plans to attend the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University in the Fall majoring in journalism. He writes sports, news, and feature stories for the Mesa Legend, the student-run newspaper at MCC. Joe is also a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA). Follow him on twitter @joejacquezaz

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