Hamilton starts injury rehab with Triple-A club

Hamilton starts injury rehab with Triple-A club

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player, began his Minor League rehab assignment on Sunday with Triple-A Round Rock. Hamilton went 1-for-3 with a first-inning single and played five innings in left field against the Nashville Sounds.

Hamilton has spent the entire 2015 season on the 15-day disabled list as he continues to rehab from right shoulder surgery on Feb. 4. The Rangers reacquired the 33-year old in a trade with the Angels on April 27.

"I'm excited to be in game situations where you have got some fans around," Hamilton said prior to Sunday's game. "I'm excited to be back in the Texas organization. I feel good physically, mentally and spiritually."

On Sunday, Hamilton faced 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner Barry Zito. The two faced off only one time in the Majors on June 8, 2012. Hamilton went 1-for-4 with a solo home run off the southpaw, who was then with the Giants.

"Obviously, I would have liked facing a guy who threw 89 [mph] or up, but at the same time, you're going to see guys like him a some point," Hamilton said. "A guy like him who spots his [pitches] and who has got different velocity curveballs, and him being a lefty is probably the best thing for me."

In his first at-bat, Hamilton singled to left field. In the third inning, Zito struck out Hamilton on four pitches. Hamilton came to bat for the final time in the fifth and struck out looking.

"I felt good; it was good to get back out there in a game situation," Hamilton said. "I was a little jumpy at the plate, which is to be expected. Overall, the body feels good, which is the important thing."

Round Rock manager Jason Wood liked what he saw from Hamilton in his debut.

"Physically, he looked great, he was moving real well out there in the outfield," Wood said. "It's just nice to see him back on the field again. He was in good spirits; he took some really good batting practice and I thought his at-bats were OK. Timing will be a thing that he's got to work on here, but after three at-bats, you can't judge anything."

Wood went on to point out an area in the field where Hamilton excelled.

120 Sports: Hamilton's Minor League rehab

"One thing I did notice that he did well was, he was backing up bases pretty good," Wood said. "There were a lot of balls hit down the right-field line, but he was moving in the right spot."

Prior to the game, Hamilton spoke of the regrets he's carried since leaving the Rangers following the 2012 season.

"The biggest thing I hated what how fans took comments from me that, obviously I wasn't bashing them, but they came across a different way from what I wanted," he said. "That was probably my biggest regret, because we had great times together. It's really a small miracle that I got back here. It was a whole, big, long, ugly process, but I feel like the Lord had his hand on it to get me back here."

Eric Moyer is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.