Washington lauds Josh Hamilton's toughness

From game to game, Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington never really knew if the moment would come that Josh Hamilton just couldn't go any longer.

No one knew the extent of the injury that Hamilton endured throughout the postseason. First believed to be a groin strain before Hamilton self-diagnosed it out of familiarity during the World Series as being a sports hernia, the slugger never missed a game. We now know, as Hamilton recuperates from sports hernia surgery, that the injury was both serious and painful.

"It definitely took away from his game. It may not have taken away on the defensive end, but I certainly think it took away on his consistency in his swing and consistency in generating power," Washington said last Friday in his first meeting with the media since the World Series. "The one thing I was most impressed with is Hamilton showed up and played. I love him even more for that."

For many, Hamilton's .271 batting average with eight extra-base hits and 13 RBI in 17 postseason games would go down as a solid effort. But, for the 2010 AL and ALCS MVP, this was was not up to Hamilton's standards, especially in the power department, where he can be devastating.

Hamilton hit no homers in the first 15 games and then it came in the 16th, a 10th-inning shot in Game 6 of the World Series to give the Rangers a 9-7 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. It had the making of a storybook ending for the hobbled star.

Hamilton would later say that on his walk from the on-deck circle to the batter's box that God spoke to him, telling him it had been a while since he hit one out and now was the time. But, as Hamilton also said, God didn't tell him he'd hit it out and win the game.

It wasn't meant to be.

"You were wondering if something was going to happen that would pull him out, but he made it," Washington said. "Through all of that, he got us the big swing we were looking for. We just couldn't shut it down."

Hamilton is expected to make a full recovery before spring training opens in February.