Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 12/6/11
GARLAND Josh Hamilton has been a busy man since the baseball season ended for the Texas Rangers. The good news for the Rangers is that Hamilton is feeling good both physically and mentally following a month in which he had surgery to repair a sports hernia and lost mentor Johnny Narron, who left the Rangers to take the job as the hitting coach for Milwaukee. Hamilton, who gave tips at a hitting clinic in Garland Tuesday but didn't participate, is trying to get ready for what could be his final year with the Rangers. Hamilton is entering the second year of a two-year contract and will be a free agent if the two sides can't come to an agreement. Hamilton is well aware of his future. "I'd be lying to you if I said I hadn't thought about it," Hamilton said. "It's always nice to know you're in one place for an extended period of time. But last year I had a two-year deal so this is the second year of my two-year deal. That's the way I'm approaching it. Whether it happens this offseason or in spring training or it doesn't, I'm still going to play and not worry about it." The 2010 most valuable player said the contract situation will not be a distraction as he preps for 2012. General manager Jon Daniels said the team would look into extending players like Hamilton and Colby Lewis, who is also entering the last year of his contract. Team president Nolan Ryan also realizes the importance of Hamilton to the Texas lineup. "Josh is a very unique player and has had a big impact on the organization," Ryan said. "He's a big part of our organization. If we didn't have him, it would leave a big hole in our lineup. You just can't replace Josh Hamilton. It's an on-going process; I don't have a feel for that. It's something Josh has to feel comfortable with and the organization as to feel comfortable in. That will be worked out but I don't know when that will be resolved." Hamilton is hoping to enter 2012 healthy. He took a big step towards that last month when he had surgery to repair a sports hernia. He said he feels like he's about 90 percent right now and hopes to be able to resume full workouts with the rest of the team in January. "I feel real good," said Hamilton, who is doing pool exercises and stability drills for his core. "I've been doing my rehab and doing everything I can to come to spring strong. I feel like it won't be a problem. If we were playing right now, I'd probably be playing right now." The loss of Narron is something Hamilton and the Rangers are trying to figure out how to deal with. Narron has worked with Hamilton since he was with Cincinnati in 2007 as a chaperone and guide for Hamilton, who has overcome addiction problems. The Rangers may try and replace Narron with someone else, something Hamilton is open too but not sure he needs anymore. Hamilton believes he's better prepared to deal with the situation than he has been I the past. "I don't feel like I need somebody but at the same time if it adds confidence with me to the Rangers or Major League Baseball or fans or whoever to have somebody, then I'm all for it," he said. "We've talked about it and hit on different people. We're still rolling around with ideas. The ultimate decision will be between me and the Rangers." One possible candidate may be teammate David Murphy, who attended Tuesday's event with Hamilton. The two are friends and Hamilton has talked with Daniels about the idea. "The safeguards I have in place with money and being with somebody to and from the ballparks, he's the first guy I bring up," Hamilton said. "It's a responsibility."
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