That hole in the middle of the Texas lineup is getting harder to ignore, no matter how much the A.L. West-leading Rangers insist they can win without injured slugger Josh Hamilton.
While the Rangers have reached mid-June as the division leader for the first time in 10 years, their hitters are slumping and their lead shrinking.
“It’s not that we’re downplaying missing Josh. We’re a good team without him, we’re a good team with him,” Ian Kinsler said. “We have won without him and we need to continue doing that until he gets healthy. We can’t sit around and blame our offensive woes on that.”
But their June swoon does directly correspond with Hamilton’s second trip to the disabled list this season. The center fielder who bats third last played May 31. He is recovering from surgery last week to repair a tear in his abdominal muscle and expected to be out another month.
Before a day off Monday, Texas was 2-4 on its current homestand and hit .197 with 14 runs in that stretch against Toronto and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Rangers (35-27) were held to one run twice and scoreless another game. The Los Angeles Angels have moved within two games, the slimmest margin in three weeks.
“We’re not panicking when it comes to our offense,” Michael Young said. “We know we’ll make adjustments. … We’ll get there. We’re confident. It’s a matter of time.”
The last time the Rangers led the division in mid-June was 1999, the season they won the last of their three A.L. West titles. They were 71/2 games back by this point a year ago, and a whopping 28 games behind in 2001.
Isringhausen out remainder of season
Tampa Bay reliever Jason Isringhausen will miss the rest of the season after tearing a ligament in his surgically repaired right elbow.
The 36-year-old right-hander was injured while throwing a pitch during the eighth inning of Saturday night’s victory over the Washington Nationals. An MRI exam found a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.
Isringhausen, who missed part of last season with the St. Louis Cardinals following elbow surgery, will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair the current damage.
Sizemore nears return to Indians
Grady Sizemore’s ailing left elbow has improved enough to where the All-Star center fielder could be back in the Cleveland Indians’ lineup in seven to 10 days.
Sizemore’s MRI exam revealed much of the inflammation that’s hampered him since spring training subsided. Arthroscopic surgery was an option.
Sizemore will test the elbow with more swings and throws today, and he will be evaluated daily. No more MRI exams have been scheduled.
As long as it doesn’t get any worse, Sizemore says he could play the rest of the season with the pain level he has now. The elbow affects his throwing more than hitting.
Marte to resume throwing program
Yankees reliever Damaso Marte will resume his throwing program at the team’s minor league complex in Tampa, Fla., after he was examined by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
The team said Andrews concurred with the evaluations of Yankees physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad and Mets medical director Dr. David Altchek, who diagnosed the left-hander with weakness and tendinitis in his pitching shoulder.
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