Back to the future: Josh Hamilton starts comeback against Barry Zito

When Josh Hamilton faced Barry Zito on Sunday, it was in a triple-A game

Josh Hamilton finally got back to the one place he feels most comfortable. On Sunday, he got back into the batter's box.

After a winter relapse in his battle with substance abuse, a spring battle with Angels management and a trade to the Texas Rangers, Hamilton played his first minor league rehabilitation game, for triple-A Round Rock. 

He turns 34 next week. The guy pitching who was against him turns 37 on Wednesday.

That guy would be Barry Zito, who won the American League Cy Young Award in 2002. After sitting out last season, Zito is on the comeback trail at triple-A Nashville.

Zito faced Hamilton three times, giving up a single and striking him out twice. According to the Dallas Morning News, Hamilton saw a total of 14 pitches. He put one ball in play, swung and missed at six strikes, took one strike and took six pitches for balls.

Zito's breaking balls barely topped 70 mph.

“Barry wasn’t throwing gas today,” Hamilton told the Morning News, laughing. “But overall my body is feeling good, which is the important thing.” 

Hamilton can spend no more than 20 days on his minor league rehabilitation assignment. He is expected to join the Rangers by month's end.

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