Josh Hamilton hasn’t played since September 4, when he crashed into an outfield wall at the Twins’ Target Field and suffered a bruised ribcage and shoulder.
According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Rangers took a drastic step earlier this week toward getting him back on the field, injecting the area of his ribs with two cortisone shots.
Hamilton is hoping to feel improvement by Saturday and is hoping to return to the Rangers’ starting lineup by early next week. He was batting an MVP-worthy .361/.414/.635 with 31 homers and 97 RBI over 507 at-bats before the sudden injury. The 29-year-old has also shown excellent range in center field, registering a 9.3 UZR/150 according to the great FanGraphs.
The Rangers have a massive 10-game lead over the A’s in the American League West, so they have no real reason to rush Hamilton. But it would be nice for him to get back in the groove of playing every day before the first week of October.
Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly reports that the Phillies are close to signing free agent reliever Joaquin Benoit. An announcement is expected before the winter meetings end on Thursday.
Benoit, 39, has quietly been among the better relievers in baseball over the past seven years. This past season with the Mariners and Blue Jays, the right-hander put up an aggregate 2.81 ERA with a 52/24 K/BB ratio in 48 innings. That included a 0.38 ERA in 23 2/3 innings after the Jays acquired him from the Mariners.
Benoit suffered a torn calf muscle during a benches-clearing brawl with the Yankees near the end of the regular season. He’s expected to be healthy for spring training.
The Phillies have now added three relievers this offseason with Benoit, Pat Neshek, and David Rollins.
ESPN’s Pedro Gomez provides a previously unreported detail of the new collective bargaining agreement, agreed to by the owners and the players’ union last week. Players’ meal money for road games is being reduced from $105 to $30 per day. Teams are providing pre- and post-game meals in the visitors’ clubhouse to offset some of the decrease in meal money.
Gomez quotes an unnamed player who said, “I doubt many guys know about the money going down, nor would they have agreed to it.” All of the players Gomez contacted said they were unaware of and unhappy about the change.
Clubhouse attendants are certainly unhappy about this change, too. As Gomez notes, the attendants previously provided food for visiting teams which earned them tips from the players.
EDIT: It’s worth clarifying that chefs are required in clubhouses now as part of the new CBA, so it’s not a complete loss for the players.