Josh Hamlton could play center field for Rangers after return from DL

Baseball Josh Hamilton is nearing a return from his latest stint on the disabled list, and the R

angers might have a different role in mind for the outfielder once he's back on the active roster.Hamilton could rejoin the team as early as Monday — and play center field. According to the Dallas Morning News, Texas manager Jeff Banister acknowledged Sunday the team has discussed that possibility with Hamilton, who played center in two rehab outings over the weekend. MORE: The worst All-Star starters of the past 40 years“Josh has played out there before,” Banister said. “If he can do it, it’s a plus for us. I’ve talked on several occasions about having multiple players being able to play multiple positions. He’s excited about going there and running around. Who wouldn’t want to do it? It’s a fun place to play.” Hamilton has indeed played center before, but the last time he did it with any regularity was the final year of his first stint with Texas, 2012. He played 95 games in center field that year, and 111 there in 2008, but mostly has been a corner outfielder the last three seasons.Even if Hamilton doesn't cover as much ground as he used to, the Rangers should benefit from having his bat in the lineup and Leonys Martin's out of it. Texas center fielders have a collective .631 OPS this season, the worst for any position on the team, and Martin has been the prime offender with his .222/.264/.326 line and 53 strikeouts.The Morning News suggests Martin could be sent back to Triple-A to get his swing in order, with Hamilton holding down the middle of the outfield between Joey Gallo in left and Shin-Soo Choo in right. Delino DeShields Jr. also is in line to return from the disabled list soon and could slot in as needed.