Hamilton thrilled after pain-free swings

Rangers outfielder feels 'wonderful' following cortisone shot in knee

Hamilton thrilled after pain-free swings

GRAPEVINE, Texas -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said he had a cortisone shot in his surgically repaired left knee on Thursday. Hamilton said he felt so good after the shot that he was able to take batting practice on Friday for the first time since the end of the season.

Hamilton is hoping it is a good sign and that he is no longer dealing with the pain in his left knee that had been bothering him since surgery in October.

"I'd be lying to say I wasn't getting frustrated or worried about the knee," Hamilton said before Friday's Texas Rangers Dr Pepper Awards Dinner. "You go through rehab for so long and the results weren't there. That's why we revisited it. It weighed on me."

Hamilton, 34, was bothered by the knee for most of the final two months of the season. He had surgery on Sept. 11 and missed only a week before rejoining the lineup for the Rangers' stretch run. But he reinjured the knee running into a wall during the final weekend of the regular season, and he hobbled through the Division Series against the Blue Jays.

Hamilton had surgery soon after the season and felt good for a couple of weeks. But the pain returned, persisting through November and December as he went through the rehab process. An examination by Dr. Keith Meister on Thursday showed inflammation in a capsule behind the knee, and that's why he had the cortisone shot.

He said the cortisone worked wonders, which is why he felt good enough to take batting practice a day later.

"I tell you what, I woke up this morning and put my shoe on … no pain," Hamilton said. "It was a wonderful feeling. I'm so happy. I'm in a good spot, and the rest of my body is in a good spot.

"It was doing good right after the surgery, but I might have been pushing too hard. I kept working, doing everything I could do. I haven't had any pain in 36 hours. I'm excited."

Hamilton was acquired from the Angels on April 27 but was still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery and wasn't activated until May 25. After missing all of Spring Training, Hamilton never did get to full strength with the Rangers and played in just 50 games while dealing with a number of injuries.

The Rangers have been hoping that a full Spring Training will allow Hamilton to be at his best going into the season. He needs to get his knee issue completely behind him.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.