Texas Rangers: Can They Dominate with Josh Hamilton's Injury?

Clay ThomasContributor IIApril 13, 2011

DETROIT - APRIL 13:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers watches the action from the dugout during the game against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park on April 13, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

It's been a little over a day since Josh Hamilton was injured, and I've had time to think about how his absence in the lineup will affect the Rangers. There is no more "knee-jerk reaction" in this article.

Let's face it. Texas lost its reigning AL MVP after he carried them to the World Series.

Or did they?

If you will think back to last year, Hamilton was on the disabled list after he broke two ribs running into the wall at Target Field in Minnesota and was out for nearly all of September—a critical month when trying to win a divisional pennant.

And what happened? They went on without him, finished nine games ahead of Oakland, going 15-12 on the month. Not the best record for a month, but I will take three games above .500 without the best hitter in the American League. The rest is history.

Does a lineup consisting of Nelson Cruz, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli still scare pitchers? It ought to.

This is when the Texas Rangers' deep bench will get its time to shine. Welcome to the spotlight, David Murphy.

Murphy is what I will call "the best everyday outfielder in baseball that doesn't play everyday."

Murphy is underrated, and in an outfield stacked with power and speed, he doesn't get his chance to shine like he deserves. However, he is the most integral, key piece of this puzzle they call the Rangers.

Without Murphy, they lose so much flexibility, as he can help when things like Hamilton's broken arm happen. With Hamilton out, Murphy will play left with Julio Borbon in center, and Nelson Cruz in right.

When Borbon needs a day off, Murphy has the speed, ability and leadership skills it requires to play center field, and Mitch Moreland can play left field. Napoli, Moreland and Young can all play first, with Young being able to play all other infield positions.

This is a beautiful thing the Rangers are able to do with their lineup. Not many teams can lose the MVP of the league and be alright.

The Rangers have been through this a total of five times ("this" referring to Hamilton being on the DL). You don't want it to happen, and every time it does you think to yourself "Is this it? Is this the one he doesn't come back from 100 percent?) It's scary to think of, but only time will tell.

Without Hamilton, the team is still deep off the bench. Who knows? I just watched "Rookie of the Year" a couple nights ago. Maybe it was a sign. Maybe his ligaments will come back tighter than before and he'll throw even harder than he already does.

Just please, please, PLEASE avoid stepping on baseballs while running to the mound to pitch. Please.