Josh Hamilton closer to return to outfield

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Keep your seat belts on: Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton could return to the outfield on Saturday night against the Kansas City Royals.

Hamilton came off the DL on Monday after recovering from a hairline fracture in his upper arm, a result of a head-first slide into home plate April 12 at Detroit. The Rangers wanted to be cautious before putting Hamilton back in the outfield. The first test was to see how he felt after shagging fly balls prior to the start of this three-game series with the Royals.

Hamilton is 5-for-12 in the three games since his return and has participated in the field 10 times out of the 14 games he's played. The last time he played in the outfield was April 11 at Detroit. Hamilton is expected to play left field.

There has been much debate among fans and in the media as to when and if Hamilton should return to the outfield. It appears it will happen Saturday.

Endy Chavez, who replaced Julio Borbon (hamstring), could return to the lineup Saturday and play center field. Chavez started 0-9 when he was called up from Triple-A Round Rock but reached base in his next three games before injuring his leg. Chavez has a .407 on-base percentage.