- Associated Press - Friday, September 10, 2010

ARLINGTON, TEXAS (AP) - Shortstop Elvis Andrus was back in the Texas Rangers‘ starting lineup against the New York Yankees on Friday night after missing five games because of a tight right hamstring.

Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton was out for a sixth consecutive game due to a bruised right ribcage.

Hamilton, who leads the majors with a .361 batting average, also has shoulder, back and knee problems. He said the layoff has helped heal those injuries, but the soreness in his ribcage sustained when he hit an outfield wall makes it difficult to breath, swing and throw.

“Breathing, rolling over in bed, all the stuff you normally do and take for granted,” Hamilton said. “Give it a few more days and, hopefully, it’s better.

Hamilton threw in the outfield Tuesday, aggravating the ribcage. He had X-rays on Friday, which were negative. He’s been using a hyperbaric chamber to facilitate healing.

Manager Ron Washington wants to make sure Hamilton is healthy if the Rangers reach the playoffs.

“Until he feels he can do something, we’ve got to stay day-to-day,” Washington said. “It depends on how he tells us he feels. We certainly don’t want to hurt him. We can only go by what he tells us, and he tells us he can’t do it right now.”

In other Rangers injury news, right-hander Frank Francisco still was unable to throw because of a strained muscle in his right side. Francisco hasn’t pitched in a game since Aug. 27.

Washington said Francisco can be in the bullpen if the Rangers make the playoffs, but Francisco has to get back on the mound in either a regular game or a simulated game before he’d be included on the division series roster.

“We’d like to know he’s healthy, make an appearance … give you an inning, put the ball where he needs to put it,” Washington said. “I want to see him pitch, period.”

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