Josh Hamilton celebrates his way

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Outfielder Josh Hamilton knows the smartest thing he can do is stay away from alcohol. So when the AL West-clinching party moved into the clubhouse, Hamilton slipped off into the trainer's room and showered.

Some of his teammates tried to find him and drench him with water, but he had already changed into his street clothes and was preparing to speak to a large group of fans as part of church day in Oakland. Hamilton shared his testimony, as did several A's players, while the celebration in the clubhouse finished up.

Hamilton did take part in the on-field hugs that occurred as soon as the game ended.

"It's exciting," Hamilton said about clinching the division. "It's a proud day in Texas. It was great to be on the field and with the guys you've been in the trenches with."

Hamilton has been sidelined since Sept. 4 with a small fracture in two ribs and is trying to work his way back into the lineup. He is doing exercises to strength his lat muscle and be sure his ribs can handle the wear and tear of playing baseball. But he was clearly pleased that the club finally clinched the division.

“I’ve been waiting for this to happen,” Hamilton said. “I’m excited about what we’ve done. Everybody has put a lot of work in and we’ve come together as a team and played well this season. We’re excited to get the division."