It's a move that has paid off handsomely for the Rangers, who expect to finally have Hamilton back in the lineup as they face Volquez - now with the San Diego Padres - for the first time Tuesday night at Petco Park.
Texas (41-27) dealt Volquez (3-6, 3.70 ERA) and outfielder Danny Herrera to Cincinnati in December 2007 for Hamilton. Since that trade, Hamilton has helped the Rangers franchise reach its first two World Series. He is a leading AL MVP candidate this season, with 22 homers and a major league-best 62 RBIs.
Volquez, whom the Reds dealt to San Diego (24-44) last December, is now getting ready to face the organization that signed him as an 18-year-old in October 2001. He went 3-11 with a 7.20 ERA in 20 games - 17 starts - with Texas between 2005-07.
The right-hander had gone 0-4 with a 5.86 ERA over a five-start span before Thursday, when he yielded one run over 6 2-3 innings of a 6-2 victory at Seattle - his first win since May 12.
"Overall, it was a strong performance," Padres manager Bud Black said. "Three-pitch mix was very good."
Volquez has only faced one current Rangers hitter more than twice, with Adrian Beltre going 1 for 9 against him.
He should get his first look at Hamilton, who is expected to be back in the lineup Tuesday. Hamilton, who has been suffering from an intestinal virus that he said caused him to lose 10 pounds, entered Monday's series-opening 2-1 Rangers win in the ninth inning as a defensive replacement.
"You don't wanna rush back out there, set yourself back, and then be out even longer," Hamilton told the Rangers' official website. "If everything goes good I'll jump back in there (Tuesday)."
Hamilton ranks second among active players with a .351 interleague batting average, and his .638 slugging percentage is the best all-time in interleague play.
How Texas fares Tuesday, however, could be determined more by how Scott Feldman (0-6, 6.50) performs. Feldman will try to avoid becoming the first Rangers pitcher to lose his first seven decisions as a starter in a season since Rick Honeycutt in 1982.
The right-hander dropped his sixth straight start Thursday as he gave up six runs over five-plus innings of an 11-3 defeat to Arizona. He has yet to last through the sixth inning in seven starts this season.
"It's frustrating to keep going out there - we have such a good team - and not be winning," Feldman said. "I feel like I'm really close."
Feldman has never started against the Padres. Carlos Quentin is 3 for 11 with a homer against him.
Texas leads the majors with 5.29 runs per game while San Diego is last at 3.32. Neither team scored after the first inning Monday in the Rangers' fourth straight victory.