Josh Hamilton was facing an uphill climb to make the Texas Rangers roster this year. Yesterday, he had another setback as he looked to work his way back.
It was supposed to be a story of redemption. Josh Hamilton, who had turned his life around with the Texas Rangers, had signed a minor league contract to remain in Arlington after missing all of 2016 with knee problems. This was to be the epilogue, the final chapter in his comeback, as he had already returned to Texas following a relapse of his problems with alcohol. The Rangers had been the perfect environment for Hamilton in so many ways, and now, they could be a fitting location for the end of his career.
That final chapter, if it is to be a positive one, will involve more adversity. Hamilton has experienced more pain in his surgically repaired knee, and is heading back to Houston to be examined.
Josh Hamilton has flown to Houston to see his surgeon after experiencing pain in his left knee Tuesday. #Rangers
— Jeff Wilson (@JeffWilson_FWST) February 22, 2017
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While the Rangers were not counting on Hamilton to be a key part of their lineup, this is still a tough blow. If healthy, he had been one of the better sluggers in the game, a five time All Star and former MVP winner. However, his health and problems with substance abuse short circuited his career, making his accomplishments all the more impressive.
As Hamilton will turn 36 years old during the season, one has to wonder what he has left. At this point, given his age and the ongoing health problems with his knee, his career could be approaching an end. It was certainly not the way that Hamilton, or those writing his tale, would have wanted to end the story.
If this is indeed the final chapter, it has still been a wonderful tale. The former top prospect, who had his career ruined by substance abuse, had found his way back to the game he loved. He became a star, but once again had to face down his personal demons. And he did just that, finding his way to the Majors once again. If an injury ends his career, he still made it further than anyone would have imagined a decade ago. And if Hamilton comes back, it will be another moment of overcoming adversity.
Josh Hamilton may have been a long shot for the Texas Rangers, and his knee issues have not helped. However, this latest setback does not detract from his overall story.