Josh Hamilton appears ahead of schedule

ARLINGTON, Texas -- There's no exact date for Josh Hamilton's return, but the slugger is progressing a little ahead of schedule. He said Friday that he hopes to be back in "two to three weeks."

He's been swinging a fungo for three straight days and feels good. He took 125 swings on Friday afternoon, some off the tee one-handed with his back hand and then front hand and some using both hands as assistant hitting coach Johnny Narron tossed balls at him.

“I haven’t had any pain,” Hamilton said. “Each day I come back, I want to be sore from doing exercises and things like that with no pain and that’s what it’s been so far. All my strength’s back.”

Hamilton said he’s been throwing to bases, running the bases, throwing long toss and now swinging a bat.

“He’s not ready yet,” manager Ron Washington said. “He’s swinging a fungo right now. I can drive a ball with a fungo. But at least he’s swinging.”

Hamilton said he planned on hitting with a regular bat during the second half of his drills on Friday, but the training staff wanted him to wait a couple of days and not rush it.

“Dr. Meister [Rangers team physician] said everything is about pain tolerance,” Hamilton said. “If it doesn’t hurt, do it.”

When the injury occurred on April 13, Hamilton was told it would be six to eight weeks. If his timetable is right, he could return just prior to that or shortly after the six-week mark. We'll see. Again, this is Hamilton saying how he feels at this point. The Rangers will wait and see how he progresses and no firm timetable for his return is being set.