Shoulder injury latest setback for Josh Hamilton

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After missing 73 games last season with back, groin, and rib injuries Josh Hamilton hurt his left shoulder last week when he fell during a pop-up drill at the Rangers’ first official workout of spring training.
X-rays showed no major damage and Hamilton was hoping to shake off the injury, but instead he skipped batting practice yesterday and has now been scratched from the lineup for today’s intrasquad game.
“We’ve got a lot of time,” manager Ron Washington said. “If this continues four or five days, then we might start to get concerned.” Unfortunately, given how things have gone for Hamilton since his breakout 2008 campaign that sounds more like a promise than anything else.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.