Rangers' Hamilton rested hamstring

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has returned to the lineup for Thursday's game with the Pittsburgh Pirates after missing Wednesday's game with a tight hamstring.

Hamilton, who has hit in a career-high 17 consecutive games, said his hamstring has been tight for more than a month and taking a day off Wednesday was more a precaution than anything else.

"It didn't keep me from playing [Wednesday]," Hamilton said prior to Thursday's game. "We're trying to be smart, where in the past I would have played until something happened, and I'm trying to stay in it for the long haul. I feel like taking a day from time to time will help me do that."

Hamilton said he's not surprised missing a game while in the midst of a hitting streak made national headlines. However, his manager, Ron Washington, seemed surprised to hear about the injury.

"I don't know [anything] about that," Washington said. "That's what he told you guys? I think you have to get that information from Hamilton. I have no comment on that. I can't speak on that."

Hamilton, third in AL All-Star voting among outfielders, attributed the tightness to legging out a double Tuesday against the Pirates. He had an off-day Monday, which he said might have thrown off his daily running routine.

"The last day in Houston both of them [his hamstrings] felt great, I didn't feel anything," Hamilton said, alluding to Sunday's game against the Astros. "I think the day off hurt me more than it helped me, and I think I felt it the other night. I figured I better get treatment and it will settle down a little and I will play."

Hamilton doesn't anticipate his hamstring being an issue moving forward.

Hamilton is batting .485 with six doubles, eight homers and 24 RBIs during his hitting streak. In June, he is hitting .476 (39-for-82) with eight homers, seven doubles and 26 RBIs in 20 games.

Calvin Watkins covers the Texas Rangers for ESPN Dallas. Ben Rogers is co-host of the Ben & Skin Show on ESPN 103.3 FM and blogs for ESPN Dallas. Richard Durrett also contributed this report.