Hamilton returns to Texas lineup

Texas (39-27) at San Diego (23-43), 10:05 p.m. EDT

Josh Hamilton hopes to be back for the Texas Rangers, who may not need much production if their star returns Monday night given how Matt Harrison is pitching.

Hamilton could return as Harrison looks to tie for the AL lead in victories when the Rangers make their first visit to Petco Park to open a three-game set against the San Diego Padres.

Texas (40-27) swept Houston over the weekend without Hamilton, who left Thursday’s 11-3 defeat to Arizona with an intestinal virus and was later hospitalized. He rejoined the team before Sunday’s 9-3 victory, and said he plans to play in San Diego (24-43) although he did not take part in any workouts Sunday.

“One more day of rest and play tomorrow in San Diego,” Hamilton told the Rangers’ official website. “It’s cooler, less taxing on the body. The last thing I want to do is wear myself out and have a setback.”

Manager Ron Washington continues to say that Hamilton’s status is day-to-day.

Hamilton is second among active players with a .351 interleague average, and his .638 slugging percentage is the best all-time in interleague play. The slugger leads the majors with 62 RBIs and is second with 22 homers, but is hitting .196 with one homer and five RBIs in his 13 games in June.

Harrison (8-3, 3.54 ERA) will try again for his ninth victory after his four-start win streak ended last Wednesday in Texas’ 1-0 victory over the Diamondbacks. He left after yielding six hits over 7 1-3 innings, and has not allowed a run over his last 16 1-3 frames.

“I feel good with my tempo right now and it’s making me just focus on making my pitches and not worry about my tempo,” said Harrison, who has a 1.42 ERA over his last five outings.

The left-hander is 6-1 with a 3.51 ERA in seven starts away from home, tying St. Louis’ Lance Lynn for the most road wins in the majors. He has never faced the Padres, who own one of baseball’s worst records against southpaw starters at 4-18.

The San Diego hitter Harrison is most familiar with is Carlos Quentin, who is 2 for 12 against him.

Texas batted .327 and scored 23 runs without Hamilton in its weekend sweep. Adrian Beltre went 6 for 13 with a homer and five RBIs, Elvis Andrus 5 for 11 with three stolen bases and Craig Gentry 4 for 8 with three runs scored.

Beltre is probably looking forward to facing Jason Marquis (1-1, 1.46) since he’s 7 for 16 against the right-hander.

Marquis, who is four strikeouts shy of 1,000 for his career, will make his third start with San Diego after being signed to a minor-league deal May 29. His only career starts against Texas came in 2002 and 2007.

Marquis earned his first win with the Padres at Seattle on Wednesday as he lasted 6 1-3 innings in a 1-0 victory.

Texas leads the majors with 5.34 runs per game while San Diego is last at 3.36.

The Padres are 12-10 all-time against the Rangers, who last played in San Diego at Qualcomm Stadium in 2001.

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