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Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has two broken ribs; status for playoffs in question

September 21, 2010 |  3:43 pm

The World Series hopes of the Texas Rangers may have suffered a considerable blow Tuesday when star outfielder Josh Hamilton, who leads the major leagues with a .361 average and a .635 slugging percentage, was diagnosed with small fractures in two ribs on his left side.

Hamilton, who has a team-leading 31 home runs and ranks second on the team with 97 runs batted in, was injured in a Sept. 4 collision with the outfield wall at Minnesota's Target Field, and he has not played in 14 games since.

The slugger received an epidural nerve-block injection for pain management and an anti-inflammatory injection at the site of the discomfort, and he will be evaluated in 48 to 72 hours. Hamilton will miss the remaining two games of a three-game series against the Angels, which resumes in Anaheim on Tuesday night.

Once the discomfort recedes to a point where Hamilton is comfortable, he will be able to return to baseball activities, but there is some question as to how long that process will take.

The Rangers, who lead Oakland by eight games and the Angels by 9 1/2 games, have a magic number of six to clinch their third American League West title and should have the option of resting Hamilton for another week or two.

But Texas would be at a considerable disadvantage for the first round of the playoffs against the New York Yankees or Tampa Bay Rays if Hamilton were sidelined.

-- Mike DiGiovanna