Rangers' Josh Hamilton not starting

SAN DIEGO -- Josh Hamilton was out of the Texas Rangers lineup for Monday night's game against the San Diego Padres, but he came on in the bottom of the ninth as a defensive replacement in left field.

Hamilton has been battling an intestinal virus that has caused him to lose 10 pounds, but said he felt good after taking early batting practice and shagging fly balls, though he felt "a little gassed" while swinging.

"(I) didn't want to jump back into anything as far as like a game, wanted to come in and get some work in and see how my body responds to it and then be available off the bench tonight and then if everything goes good, jump back in there tomorrow," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said Rangers manager Ron Washington told him to be ready off the bench Monday night.

Though he hasn't played for three consecutive days, Hamilton is remaining patient.

"I'm not frustrated, more than anything for the simple fact it's June," he said. "You definitely don't want to rush back out there and set yourself back and then be out even longer. So, just take your time and be smart about it and Wash understands. This is about getting strength (back)."

Hamilton said his stomach remains a little weak, but he's been able to eat. The illness has affected his family, and his daughter has returned home from the hospital. Hamilton was also in the hospital.

Washington confirmed he would've likely played Hamilton on Monday night if Hamilton had said he was ready.

"The way he was running balls down in the outfield and the way he swung the bat, it looked like he's going to be fine," Washington said. "But the work today, now shut it down and go back out (for regular batting practice), that'll be the tell-ltale sign."

Sarah Trotto is a contributing writer for ESPNDallas.com.