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March 31, 2012

Wrapping up Rangers 5-3 victory over Rockies: Hamilton exits with tight groin; Ross shines again

The story of the Texas Rangers' 5-3 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Friday night was Yu Darvish and his 11 strikeouts.

But there were other storylines that developed throughout the game, including Josh Hamilton leaving after the seventh inning with a tight left groin and Robbie Ross tossing two scoreless innings in relief.

Hamilton told manager Ron Washington after the seventh inning that he had felt tightness in his left groin, and Washington didn't hesitate to pull the star slugger. Hamilton is listed day to day.

"He said it was tight, I didn't get any more than that," Washington said. "Once he said that, I told him to get out of here."

Hamilton, who started in center field for the second consecutive night, had a two-run double in the fifth. All signs point to Hamilton being the Rangers' center fielder on Opening Day, but he does have a history of injuries.

Last year, Hamilton missed 36 games with a fractured humerus bone in his right arm. He also had offseason hernia surgery.

On a brighter note for the Rangers, left-hander Robbie Ross continued his strong spring. Ross, who has never pitched above Double A, is a candidate to become the Rangers' left-handed reliever in the bullpen.

Ross worked two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with no walks and no strikeouts. His Cactus League ERA is at 1.64 after eight appearances.

"He's got late movement, he's hard to pick up, he's deceptive," bullpen coach Andy Hawkins said. "He was behind all the hitters in his first inning, adjusted and got ahead of all of the hitters in his second inning. He's got that little cutter that gets in there on you."

Washington also has liked what he's seen from Ross, and said he's still being considered for a bullpen spot.

"He's standing in line until we make a decision," Washington said.

-- Drew Davison

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