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Rangers slugger Hamilton seems healthy, plays 1st extended spring training game in Arizona

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SURPRISE, Arizona — Josh Hamilton played in extended spring training for the Texas Rangers on Monday, his first game of any kind since last October.

Hamilton struck out once and hit three grounders to first base in Arizona, a week after the Los Angeles Angels completed a trade that sent to slugger back to Texas. He played three innings in left field.

"Seeing live pitching, getting his timing down, all those sort of things are going to take some time," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "But physically, the shoulder, the reports that we're getting, you can't tell there was an issue. He seems to be 100 percent, running well, throwing well."

Hamilton had not played in a game since last fall, when he was hitless in 13 at-bats as the Angels were swept by Kansas City in the AL division series. He had offseason shoulder surgery, and had a self-reported relapse with alcohol and cocaine.

Daniels, who compared Monday's game to the first intrasquad in the first week of spring training, said the 2010 AL MVP and five-time All-Star will remain in Arizona several more days before joining Round Rock, the organization's Triple-A team based just outside of Austin, Texas.

"The swing, the bat speed, all those things that you would expect to see from him have been there," Daniels said.

Round Rock is playing a series in Omaha through Thursday, then has a four-game set in Nashville through Monday. The Express then are back home.

The Rangers have said Hamilton will spend 10-14 days at Triple-A, meaning he could be back in the majors the second half of this month. Hamilton has been in Arizona since last Tuesday.

After surgery on Feb. 4, Hamilton never report to spring training with the Angels. He did his shoulder rehabilitation in the Houston area.

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