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06/17/10 12:24 AM EST

Marlins try to keep Hamilton in check

Josh Hamilton started the week off with an award, and he seems determined to end it with a big bang.

Or two.

Hamilton, who was named the AL Player of the Week along with Rangers teammate Colby Lewis, went 4-for-5 in Wednesday's 6-3 win against the Marlins and is hitting .458 in June to raise his average from .281 to a season-high .323.

The Texas outfielder has hit safely in 12 consecutive games and has an RBI in 11 of his last 12 games. He has hit a home run in five of his last seven contests.

"I'm just trying not to do too much -- just put the barrel of the bat on the ball," he said. "I've been working on my bat-path, and batting practice is not a home run show anymore. Just line drives and hitting the ball the other way. That way, good habits carry into the game and bad ones don't."

It will be up to Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco to keep Hamilton in check. Nolasco is looking to rebound from a rough 2 1/3-inning outing against Tampa Bay on Saturday. He gave up three homers in the outing, his shortest stint of the season.

"They're just not missing [pitches]. There's not much I can do about it," Nolasco said after the outing. "Those balls are right over the middle of the plate, and good hitters are putting good swings on them. Not much I can do there ... just falling behind in some of those counts, and that doesn't help."

Furthermore, in his last two starts, Nolasco has given up eight runs in 7 2/3 innings. He is 4-4 with a 5.56 ERA in 11 Interleague games. He has never faced the Rangers.

Dustin Nippert will make his first start of the season for Texas, filling in for a banged-up rotation.

Rangers: Young makes history
Michael Young is now the franchise's all-time hits leader with 1,748 after collecting two knocks in Wednesday's win. ... Rangers pitcher Tommy Hunter left Wednesday's start against the Marlins in the third inning with a strained right hip flexor muscle. Hunter was replaced by Matt Harrison. ... Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz, who has been on the disabled list since May 29 with a torn left hamstring, will spend the weekend in Nashville on a medical rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City. ... Vladimir Guerrero was out of the lineup on Wednesday, as manager Ron Washington stayed with his plan of not using him in the outfield two days in a row. Washington wants to use Guerrero twice in each three-game series against the NL, but he doesn't want him playing in the field two games in row.

Marlins: Coghlan providing spark
Marlins outfielder Chris Coghlan has rebounded from a slow start. He was batting .210 on May 23, and now his average is over .270, and he once again is making things happen at the top of the order.

Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said when players are off to a slow start, "It plays with your mind to see the Jumbotron with that average on it. The bases on balls don't help the batting average."

However, even when struggling, Coghlan didn't lose his composure.

"It's all about the confidence," Gonzalez said. "To his credit, he never wavered."

Worth noting
The Marlins are 123-104 all-time against the AL, and 4-7 all-time against the Rangers. ... With his 10th homer of the season Tuesday, Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez has 113 for his career. Ramirez has the fifth-most career homers for any shortstop at age 26. "Little by little, he's been getting better," Gonzalez said. "He's getting closer." ... Marlins catcher John Baker (elbow) hopes to return shortly after the All-Star break. If not then, then the timeline could be no later than Aug. 1. ... Garrett Wittels, the Florida International University star who is riding a 56-game hitting streak, was a guest of the Marlins on Wednesday at Sun Life Stadium.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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