Hamilton embarks on rehab stint

Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will begin his comeback from abdominal surgery as the designated hitter for Double-A Frisco.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton, who last played May 31, will lead off and get as many at-bats as possible for the RoughRiders tonight in their last game before the Double-A All-Star break.

Hamilton, who had surgery June 9, will then work out with the Rangers on Tuesday. If all goes well, he will join Triple-A Oklahoma City on Wednesday in Iowa and play multiple games there, including in the outfield.

“There have been no setbacks,” Daniels said. “It has been a positive rehab so far.”

Hamilton could rejoin the Rangers as early as next weekend against Toronto, in their final home series before the All-Star break. Texas then plays seven games on the West Coast before the break.

Hamilton got hurt when he crashed into an outfield wall making a catch May 17. That came less than a week after he came off an earlier stint on the disabled list because of a strained ribcage muscle sustained when he crashed into another wall on another catch.

Hamilton, who hit .304 with 32 homers and an AL-high 130 RBI last season, is hitting .240 with six homers and 24 RBI in 35 games this season.

Interleague not for Torre

As the Los Angeles Dodgers closed this year’s interleague play Sunday with a 4-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners, manager Joe Torre reiterated that he could do without playing American League teams in the regular season.

“I’m not a big fan,” Torre said. “It’s a novelty for the fans; I think we’re doing it for the fans. Which is fine. In certain cities, it works. I mean, we play the Angels, and, of course, Chicago with the White Sox and the Cubbies.”

DeRosa joins Cardinals

Minutes after he walked into the St. Louis clubhouse, Mark DeRosa was already getting tips from Albert Pujols. Manager Tony La Russa had him batting cleanup behind Pujols, and the new arrival was happy to be with an NL Central contender after a half-season in the American League.

“I just want to be a piece to the puzzle,” said DeRosa, acquired Saturday night from the Cleveland Indians for reliever Chris Perez and a player to be named. “I’m excited to be here and to be back in the National League and be a part of a division race.”

DeRosa had three groundouts and a walk for the Cardinals. He contributed defensively with a diving catch in left field that robbed Justin Morneau of extra bases in the eighth inning of the Minnesota Twins’ 6-2 win.