Texas Rangers star outfielder Josh Hamilton is being held back by a nagging groin injury and when you combine his struggles in the third hole with Elvis Andrus’ woes batting second, the St. Louis Cardinals have a clear advantage as the World Series shifts to Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.

Richard Durrett of ESPNDallas.com passed along some discouraging information after Game 2.

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said his strained groin is bothering him enough that if this were the regular season, he’d probably be on the disabled list.

Hamilton, speaking to reporters prior to Game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday, said he’ll just continue to play through the discomfort. He was playing left field in Game 2 and batting third, his usual spot.

Playing through an injury that would cost him at least 15 days during the regular season is nothing to take lightly. Groin problems not only make running, both on the bases and in the field, a pain but can change a hitter’s swing at the plate.

And for somebody with such a natural stroke like Hamilton, even a minor tweak to his approach can throw off his entire game.

The former first-overall pick is 0-for-7 in the World Series and has an on-base percentage of .264 during the playoffs, more than 80 points below his regular season total. And it’s hard for Texas to generate runs without Hamilton being a force in the middle of the lineup.

Manager Ron Washington has said Hamilton will continue to play the outfield, even at home where the designated hitter spot is available. His stance may change if his superstar’s ailment becomes more problematic in Game 3.

The next two games should be closer to the high-scoring duel than most were expecting when the series began with the back end of both rotations taking the mound. It will be difficult for Texas to keep up with St. Louis without big production from Hamilton and Andrus.

At this point, if Hamilton says he wants to play, Washington should let him play, but maybe sliding him down in the order wouldn’t be a bad idea. Now that the issue has become public, it will surely be the focus of tonight’s game, putting even more pressure on the slugger to produce.

Moving down in the order would alleviate some of that pressure.

Hamilton’s a warrior, so he’s going to give everything his body allows him to give every game. It’s up to Washington to makes changes if they will help the offense score more runs. Right now, moving Hamilton down Texas’ deep lineup seems like the best way to do just that.

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