Josh Hamilton: Ribs not a factor

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers slugger and leading American League MVP Josh Hamilton was asked if his healing ribs caused him problems at the plate in the ALDS.

"Quit using excuses, man. I just sucked," Hamilton said. "Can’t get any more honest than that."

Hamilton hit just .111 (2-for-18) in the five-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays and his lone RBI of the series came in Game 5 on a fielder's choice. Hamilton fractured two ribs after he crashed into wall making a catch in Minnesota on Sept. 4. The nature of the injury wasn't revealed until about two weeks later and didn't return until Oct. 1. He had just 11 at-bats going into the ALDS.

"At least I got a couple hits, right?" said Hamilton, who again denied the injury affected his hitting. "No, I was just trying to do too much and that’s exactly what it was. I felt fine. Mechanically, timing, I felt fine. Hopefully, it can be a quick fix."

Outfielder David Murphy said his strained left groin continues to progress and that he's nearing 100 percent. Murphy played in Games 3 and 4, going 1-for-7 at the plate. In Game 3, Julio Borbon took over for Murhpy as a defensive replacement in Game 3.

Murphy likely won't be in the Game 1 lineup against New York Yankees starter CC Sabathia, but he could be used as a pinch-hitter. His first start could come in Game 2 against Yankees righty Phil Hughes.