Hamilton: Knee 'best it has felt in five years'

Mending outfielder aiming to return to Major League club by early May

Hamilton: Knee 'best it has felt in five years'

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton provided an update on his troublesome left knee on Thursday morning.

"Honestly, it's the best it has felt in five years," Hamilton said before heading to the cage for batting practice.

Hamilton is doing everything he can to get the knee ready to go. He had two operations last year, a stem cell injection in February and a cortisone shot two weeks ago. He is now back on the field and doing baseball activities in the hope that he will be ready by the beginning of May.

Hamilton is taking batting practice off of coaches and tracking pitches off hitters. He is doing some fielding work, although not chasing down fly balls. His running is limited.

"It's good. ... It's going real good," Hamilton said.

Hamilton will finish Spring Training with the Rangers, go with them to Arlington for Opening Day and then return to Surprise to continue his workouts. At that point, he is planning on increasing his work, including taking actual batting practice against live pitching.

There are no plans to speed up the process.

"The experience of pushing it and getting excited and then having a setback is definitely there," Hamilton said. "That definitely slows me down."

The Rangers still want Hamilton to have a full Spring Training, which would include an extended rehab assignment in the Minor Leagues to get at-bats.

Worth noting
• The Rangers expect their Class A Advanced High Desert team to be ready to play in the California League, despite a dispute between the owner of the team and the city of Adelanto. The city has filed papers to evict the team from Heritage Field because of a fiscal crisis that prevents the municipal government from paying for all the expenses related to the facility.

• Outfielder Delino DeShields remains day to day with tendinitis in his right biceps. He is not in either lineup on Thursday for the Rangers' split-squad games against the Reds and Athletics.

Phil Klein allowed four runs in five innings in a Minor League start on Wednesday. Tom Wilhelmsen pitched a scoreless inning in relief.

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.