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September 23, 2012

Sunday pregame Rangers notes

The Rangers are scheduled to fly home this evening after the finale at Safeco Field in preparation for a key four-game series against Oakland, and manager Ron Washington said he doesn't know if Josh Hamilton will be available for the Monday opener.

Hamilton will miss his fifth straight game Sunday with equilibrium and sinus issues related to a sinus infection. He left the team Friday to return to Texas for more tests with Rangers doctors, and will have more tests Monday.

The Rangers have scored 15 runs in five games on their road trip, and were shut out Saturday night.

"We don't have that threat," Washington said. "I think everyone gets pitched differently. Everytime he walks to the plate, you know something is going to happen."

The Rangers enter their game Sunday with a one-game lead over New York for the No. 1 seed in the postseason. The No. 1 seed gets an extra day off before opening the ALDS because it had to wait for the wild-card game. Washington, though, said he's not worried about that.

"I want to get in," Washington said. "I'd like to win the division. I'd like to win as many games as I can. But the bottom line is get in."

The Rangers' lead entering Sunday was four games over Oakland, which will depart New York for Texas later Sunday. The Rangers aren't surprised anymore that the A's have hung around and are a playoff contender, primarily because they have good pitching. David Murphy also says that the A's play hard and keep fighting, which is a big reason for their success.

With the Rangers' magic number at eight entering Sunday, they can make a serious dent in that against the A's.

"We know that if we take care of business, it's a possibility that we could wrap up the division," Murphy said.

-- Jeff Wilson

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