SEATTLE -- Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton injured his left thumb while sliding headfirst into first base in the seventh inning at Safeco Field on Tuesday night, an injury that prevented him from batting in a crucial situation in the ninth of a 5-3 loss to the Mariners.
X-rays on Hamilton's thumb were negative, and he'll have an MRI exam on Wednesday. Postgame, Hamilton had a sleeve on the thumb. Asked how it feels, he said, "It hurts."
"We'll keep our fingers crossed," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, "but it's swollen."
Hamilton, who entered batting .500 with two homers and six walks, hit a grounder to shortstop in the seventh and was thrown out despite the headfirst slide. He played the field the next two innings, but when the Angels put the first two runners on against Mariners closer Fernando Rodney with a two-run deficit in the ninth, Ian Stewart pinch-hit for Hamilton, eventually striking out.
"In the outfield, trying to throw the ball, I realized it was a little bit more severe than I thought it was," said Hamilton, who was party to a review in the fifth inning in which an out call on Corey Hart's line drive to left field was overturned and ruled an error on Hamilton, who dropped the ball while transfering it to his throwing hand. "I went down, took a couple dry swings and just didn't have the capacity to go up there in that situation. So I told Sosh to send somebody else up there."
Hamilton, who had never previously injured his left thumb, frequently slides headfirst into first base on close plays.
"Sometimes your instincts more than anything take over; the fun of the game," Hamilton said. "I thought maybe when he was fielding the ball he had to go a little farther than he did, but he didn't. I shouldn't have done it, probably, but I'm not going to say I'm not going to do it again because I'd be lying."
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.