DALLAS (105.3 The Fan/AP) - Josh Hamilton has been released from his minor-league contract after he injured his right knee in rehab work, the Rangers announced Friday.
"I am disappointed but not discouraged that my knee problems have not allowed me to play this season," Hamilton said in a press release from the club. "I plan to have surgery on my right knee and then evaluate the situation. I want to thank the Rangers and all of the great fans for the support and encouragement. I really appreciate it."
Hamilton was examined in Houston back in February by Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed reconstructive surgery on the former AL MVP's left knee last June. It was determined then that Hamilton needed arthroscopic surgery.
The outfielder was set to rehab for the next six weeks before he could start running and thus injured his right knee at some point during that time.
"Josh will forever hold a place in Rangers history as one of the most talented, charismatic and productive players to wear our uniform," said Ranger President of Baseball Operations and General Manager John Daniels. "We wish him all the best in his upcoming recovery, and with his family."
The former A.L. MVP was examined by Lowe after his left knee flared up in running drills. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the discomfort.
Hamilton returned to camp the next day and experienced discomfort after riding a stationary bike for two days.
The 35-year-old Hamilton played just one game in the minors last season while recovering. He was medically cleared in December and signed a minor league contract with Texas.
Hamilton was a five-time All-Star as an outfielder. He has been working out this spring at first base to put less wear and tear on the knee.
Hamilton has not played in more than 90 big league games in a season since 2013.
In 2010, he hit .359 with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs. In 2013, he hit 43 home runs with 128 RBIs.
"It is disappointing for Josh," manager Jeff Banister said at the time it was announced he'd need surgery on his left knee. "I feel for him. He came into camp feeling good. I'm sure that for him, this is a challenge. This is a player that still has talent and capability. The curiosity is how long can a guy do it for and do it consistently," he said.
There's always a chance, too, that Hamilton might never play again.
Hamilton has a $24 million contract for 2017 and the Los Angeles Angels are obligated to pay the Rangers $22 million to cover most of it.
This is the final season of the $125 million, five-year deal he signed with the Angels as a free agent before the 2013 season, though they traded him back to Texas two years later.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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