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Rangers OF Hamilton keeping free agent options open

The SportsXchange

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who will be a free agent, said he would love to return to the team but his decision will be led by God.

The devoutly religious Hamilton has been scrutinized for his play lately. He was booed during a 0-for-4 game Friday as the Rangers were eliminated by the Baltimore Orioles 5-1 in the American Wild playoff.

"You hate to have it happen possibly the last game ever here, but at the same time, it's one of those things," Hamilton said on ESPN Dallas. "I gave it my all every time I went out there. Hopefully, (fans) appreciated it more than they didn't. I think they do. It's one of those things, hey, we didn't get a win, but you can't win them all."

After the game, Hamilton said the Rangers would be his first priority, but is open to going to another team if that's where God leads him.

"I always would love to stay here," he said. "They understand that. They know that. When we talked earlier in the year, we didn't get things worked out, so we said we'd wait until the year was over. They obviously get first shot. I told them they'd get first shot at the end of the year. We'll see what happens."

When he was asked what would factor into his decision, he said "with prayer, where God says so. With prayer, where God says so. And with prayer, where God says so. Period. He's always led me to the right places."

Hamilton ended the season in a slump. It included a five-game absence for an eye condition doctors told him may have been caused by too much caffeine. The Rangers lost eight of their last 10 games as Hamilton went 10-for-43 with no homers, no walks and 19 strikeouts. Texas lost the AL West division championship on the last day of the season in getting swept by the Oakland A's.

The 2010 AL MVP had led the Rangers to two straight World Series appearances, but may have played his last game as a Ranger on a bad note and dealing with unsatisfied fans.

"Personally, myself, it never would matter how high I was -- if I went to a sporting event, I would never boo somebody or I would never yell obscenities at somebody," said Hamilton, who is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic.

He said the fans' treatment would not play a role in his decision to stay with the Rangers or go to another team.

"To the fans, it's been a good ride," he said. "No matter if you send me off with boos or not, I still love you."
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