Tests show Hamilton has 2 fractured ribs

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ANAHEIM, CALIF. (AP) - Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter and a top AL MVP candidate, has two fractured ribs but has not been ruled out for the season.

The injury was revealed Tuesday. Hamilton has not played for the AL West-leading Rangers since crashing into a wall while making a catch Sept. 4 at Minnesota. The outfielder had already been dealing with stiffness in his back when that happened.

Hamilton visited Dr. Robert Watkins in California for the second day in a row Tuesday. Tests found the “small stable fracture in the seventh and eighth ribs” that two previous X-rays and an MRI did not show on Monday.

General manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton was given an anti-inflammatory injection and an epidural nerve-block injection for pain.

“It is typically 48-72 hours before it’s known whether this treatment has the desired effect,” Daniels wrote in an e-mail. “Once the discomfort recedes to a point where Josh is comfortable, he can return to baseball activities. “

Hamilton is hitting .361 with 31 home runs and 97 RBIs in 130 games.

It is not clear when Hamilton might play a game for the Rangers, who are trying to wrap up their first division title since 1999. They went into Tuesday night’s game at the Los Angeles Angels with an eight-game lead over Oakland with 13 regular-season games to play.

Hamilton had two cortisone shots last week to help relieve pain in his ribs. Those shots came a day after he felt recurring pain when taking some swings in the batting cage.

Manager Ron Washington said Monday that he figured the slugger would need 25-30 at-bats to get back into his groove.

But Washington added that if Hamilton didn’t that many at-bats before the end of the regular season, “then he’s just going to have to figure it out in the playoffs.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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