Quick hits: Hamilton addresses pictures

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– Josh Hamilton admitted taking part in some provocative pictures, first unearthed by Deadspin on Saturday:

“I
went to get something to eat. Obviously, I eat at restaurants that have
bars in them all the time. I wasn’t mentally fit to go in there,
spiritually fit, and it just crossed my mind, ‘Can I have a drink?’
Obviously, I can’t.”

While Hamilton admits to being drunk
in the photos, he did not fail a drug test, so he is not in violation
of the policy that allowed him to return to Major League Baseball.

– It appears that the White Sox are the most likely team
who put in a claim on Alex Rios. White Sox or not, the Blue Jays now
have until Tuesday to decide if they will let Rios go for nothing, work
out a trade or pull him back. Rios, who still has six years left on his
seven-year, $69.35 million contract, is batting .263/.316/.428 with 14
homers and 62 RBI (this includes his two-run homer against the Orioles
on Saturday).

– Speaking of waivers, Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus did a fine job of explaining the process for the layman.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉