ARLINGTON, Texas -- Lost in all the talk about MVP and fractured ribs and preparing for the playoffs is the fact that Josh Hamilton will finish the season leading the American League in batting average. Easily.
He's hitting .360 entering the final game on Sunday. Hamilton was 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs on Saturday and is pleased with how he is progressing in his return from injury. After the final pitch on Sunday, he will earn the AL batting crown for 2010.
"Obviously, I said before, you start the season with your personal goals and if things work out and you get awards, that's great," Hamilton said. "So, that's great. It really is. To think that I'm not just a power hitter or drive runs in, but can actually hit for average at a higher level is good. It's good to see things finally come together."
Teammate Michael Young knows how it feels to lead the league in batting average. He did it in 2005, with a career-high .331 average and was the second Ranger at the time to lead the AL in average (Julio Franco did it in 1991).
"He's had an incredible season," Young said. "Once the season ends, you look back and see how fortunate you are to be in a long line of great hitters. Fortunately for Josh and for us, the season is not over yet. Mine was a little different in that sense. I won the batting title and went home. Now the real fun begins for us."
Hamilton's teammates are happy to see him swinging the bat well as he tries to make sure he's fully prepared for Game 1 of the ALDS on Wednesday.
"The season he's having, he's got incredible confidence," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "Just to have him in the lineup adds that presence. The way he started out and the struggles he had and to be able to fight through that was impressive. He was so consistent the rest of the year. I still think he has more in him if you take out that first month and he's able to start from the beginning, he could hit .380. I really don't know what he's capable of. He's an exceptional baseball player."