Thursday: Zephyrs 4, Redbirds 1 _lowres

Zephyrs

Josh Hamilton, on a rehab assignment from the Texas Rangers, went 2-for-3 and drove in two runs before being replaced in the bottom of the fifth inning on Thursday at Zephyr Field.

The Express (43-29), which leads the American Southern Division, prevented the Zephyrs (33-38) from sweeping the three-game series.

Hamilton, sidelined since May 21 with a hamstring injury, beat out a slow roller to third base with two outs in the third inning, scoring Tyler Pastornicky and giving Round Rock a 2-0 lead. After Zephyrs designated hitter Kila Ka’aihue lined a solo homer to right in the top of the fifth, Hamilton drove in Pastornicky in the bottom of the inning with a two-out single to center field.

Center Fielder Jared Hoying, who replaced Hamilton in center field, blasted a two-run homer to right in the sixth.

Mind on Texas

Hamilton is in the final step of his rehab assignment, working his way back from a pulled hamstring.

He said he’d much rather be in Arlington, Texas, for more than obvious reasons. The Rangers are playing the Oakland Athletics, who have Ron Washington as an infield instructor. Washington, who left the Rangers at the end of last season, guided them to the World Series in 2010 and 2011, during Hamilton’s best seasons. However, Washington recently said he’s ready to manage again.

“I don’t think I could have been in a better spot,” said Hamilton, the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player. “He’s somebody who always had his door open, somebody I always took advantage of talking to.

“He’s missed by me, he’s missed by a lot of guys. I hate I wasn’t there for the Oakland series and be able to talk to him. He’s not only good with the experience from the game, but life experiences, too.”

Hamilton and Washington, a New Orleans native, have had their struggles off the field.

As far as returning to the field, Hamilton said he’s just working on getting to full speed and being confident he can run down flies in the outfield.

“This is it,” he said. “I play (Thursday), travel to Omaha (Friday), play two games there and then go to Baltimore (with the Rangers) on Sunday.”

A little while longer

Miami Marlins first baseman Michael Morse, with the Z’s for the Express series continuing his rehab assignment, said he will be with the team in Iowa on Friday as it begins its eight-game road trip.

A source with the Marlins, however, said Thursday that the Marlins might call him up. Wednesday was expected to be his final game with the Z’s.

Morse finished the series 1-for-10, with one RBI, one run and six strikeouts, leaving six on base. Most important, he said, the sprained right ring finger that had sidelined him since April 24 is healed.

“I’m getting my timing back,” he said. “Hopefully, when I do get back (to Miami), we can make a run.”

Darrell Williams