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Hamilton gets rare start in center field

Hamilton gets rare start in center field

Hamilton gets rare start in center field

ARLINGTON -- On a team with Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos -- when healthy -- there's very little need for Josh Hamilton to ever play center field. But Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he has no problems throwing him out there at any time, particularly in a place as familiar to him as Rangers Ballpark.

"No doubt," Scioscia said. "Yeah, he can play there. He runs great routes, he's running well. And he knows this field, obviously, really well, so he's playing center field tonight."

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Hamilton's start at center field on Friday was only his sixth this season, after spending no fewer than 29 games there in his previous five years in Texas. Eighty of his starts have come in right field, 18 have come in left and a career-high 37 have been made as the designated hitter.

Hamilton has told Scioscia he likes the challenge of bouncing around to different spots in the outfield, and the Angels' manager has taken him up on that. Like most outfielders, though, center field is the spot the 32-year-old is most comfortable at because it's so much easier to read the ball off the bat.

"The skill set for center is if you have the speed, which he's got, and you have a good arm and run good routes, center field is a position you'll be much more comfortable at," Scioscia said. "But if you have a guy like Kole Calhoun -- he's going to see the ball better in center, but he doesn't have the closing speed of Josh. And that's going to make him feel more comfortable in the corners."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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