Josh Hamilton talks groin, contract, CF

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton chatted with the media for about 10 minutes Saturday in the clubhouse. A full report will be online shortly, but a few highlights for you:

* He said he started feeling the tightness in his left groin on a double that he hit in the fifth inning of Friday's game. He felt it a bit in his next at-bat and then when he tried to catch a bloop in the seventh. That's when he mentioned it and was taken out. He's not concerned (and neither are the Rangers).

“We feel better that Dr. Meister was here and able to lay hands on him and evaluate him and in his medical opinion, he doesn’t see it as cause for concern,” assistant GM Thad Levine said.

* Hamilton has not been told officially that he's going to start the season in center field, but said he expects that he will.

“I’m excited about that,” Hamilton said. “You guys always ask me what I prefer and I always say center, but will do whatever they ask me to do. That’s still the same answer. I’m excited about it and I’ll do the best I can to stay away from walls and stay on the field every day.”

* As for his contract, he says he's open to discussing a deal with the Rangers during the season, leaving that option up to his agent, Michael Moye. He reiterated he wants a deal that's "fair" and that his agent isn't looking to take advantage of anyone.

“If they want to talk to my agent, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Hamilton said. “If Mike comes to me and they want to talk about contracts, obviously we’re going to listen and he’ll share with me what they said.”

Hamilton said he’s preparing to be a free agent at the end of the season so that he can simply focus on 2012.

“That’s the way I’ve got to approach it,” Hamilton said. “That eliminates me from thinking about it. I’m not thinking, ‘Are we going to get a contract signed? Or what are they going to offer? Or why would they offer that?’ I can’t think about that stuff.”

* Hamilton knows his health is big for him this season. That starts with helping the team win a World Series, but also includes his future.

“It all depends on what kind of season I have,” Hamilton said. “It’s either having faith that I’m going to play all year and have a good season or I could say, ‘Oh no, I’m scared and I don’t know if I’m going to play or if I get hurt and if I should take any kind of deal that comes my way.’ I have faith.”

More to come on the web site later.