Hamilton injures left thumb; X-rays negative …

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.

X-rays on Hamilton’s thumb were negative, and he’ll have an MRI 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 after a 5-3 loss to the Mariners, “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 Fernando Rodney with a two-run deficit, 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,” Hamilton said. “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 has never injured his left thumb, would frequently slide headfirst into first base, a dangerous play that hardly is a benefit to the runner. But until Tuesday, he said he’s never been injured on the play.

“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 further 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

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