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April 29, 2012

Josh Hamilton makes early exit from Rays-Rangers finale

Outfielder Josh Hamilton lasted only two innings Sunday night before having to leave the homestand finale against Tampa Bay with back stiffness.

Hamilton, the front-runner for American League Player of the Month, singled in the first inning for his league-leading 25th RBI, but was seen trying to stretch his back at first base. After sliding into second base in an unsuccessful attempt to beat a force out, he was grabbing at the back while heading into the dugout.

He returned to left field in the second inning, and had to give chase to a B.J. Upton double. He finished the inning but was replaced by David Murphy to start the third.

Manager Ron Washington said that Hamilton was injured while exiting the batter's box, and the Rangers announced that Hamilton was day-to-day. But he's questionable for the Toronto series. Those three games will be played on artificial surface, which manager Ron Washington believes is not forgiving and can actually make injuries worse.

Hamilton has dealt with a sore back in the past. He missed much of September in 2009 because of back pain and had been nursing a sore back early last season before breaking a bone in his arm at Detroit.

-- Jeff Wilson

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