Josh Hamilton: Nothing new on contract

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said there’s nothing new in regards to his contract status and impending free agency.

The slugger reiterated that he and the club agreed to wait until after the season was over to negotiate, though he indicated that it was up to his agent if the club decided they wanted to restart talks before 2012 was over. Hamilton also stressed that the Rangers will get the first shot at signing him when the season ends.

“They’ve got the first shot, man,” said Hamilton, adding that he wasn’t going to “run off to free agency without talking to the Rangers first” after 2012 is over. “They had a shot earlier this year and didn’t really take it and we mutually decided to shut down talks and focus on the season and we’ll restart talks at the end of the season.”

Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, is making his fifth consecutive All-Star Game start after earning more than 11 million votes from fans, a new record. He’s batting third in Tuesday’s game.

He was the AL player of the month in April and May before having a slow June. But he’s stayed healthy for most of the season, missing a total of seven games with either back spasms or an intestinal virus. Hamilton leads the league with 75 RBIs and is tied for the lead in homers with 27 (Jose Bautista). He’s hitting .313, top-10 in the league.

“Right now, I’m focusing on the task at hand,” Hamliton said. “I’m under contract with the Rangers right now and I’m going to do everything I can to help the team win. I appreciate the fans and all the support.”

Hamilton said he trusts his agent, Mike Moye, to help his family make a decision.

“I'm not going to be involved in it," Hamilton said. "My agent understands my wife and my hearts and what the plan is and what we want to accomplish. We trust his judgment. If he decides that we should talk about it, we’ll talk about it. But he’s not going to bother me with the distractions of worrying about the contract."