Among other duties Johnny Narron has served as Josh Hamilton’s “accountability partner” since 2009, but he left the team last month to become the Brewers’ new hitting coach and now the Rangers are searching for a new person to keep the former MVP in line on the road.
“We’re working on it,” Hamilton told Richard Durrett of ESPN Dallas. “I’m sure you’ll hear more in the next few days.”
As for what exactly an “accountability partner” entails, Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas offered some details in a column earlier this month:
Hamilton is a 30-year-old man with a wife and four kids. Ultimately, he’s responsible for his own actions. But anyone who has ever been an addict or alcoholic, or had an addict or alcoholic in their immediate family, knows staying clean requires more than good intentions or catchy slogans like, “Just say no.”
Narron helped keep Hamilton’s mind right when he was in a slump. Or a funk. He was the guy in the adjoining hotel room on the road that Hamilton could talk to when the slugger wanted to discuss God’s plan for his life at 2 a.m. Or when the devil urged Hamilton to take a drink or use drugs.
It won’t make as many headlines as a new closer or even a backup infielder, but finding a new “accountability partner” for Hamilton could be the most important addition of the Rangers’ offseason.
We learned on Monday that Hyun-Jin Ryu won one of the final two spots in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Brandon McCarthy has won the other, Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register reports. Alex Wood was McCarthy’s competitor for the spot.
McCarthy, 33, posted a 4.85 ERA across four appearances spanning 13 innings this spring, yielding seven earned runs on 14 hits and a walk with seven strikeouts. Wood, a southpaw, gave up five earned runs in six innings against the Reds on Tuesday, which might have factored into the decision.
Last season, McCarthy made nine starts and one relief appearance, posting a 4.95 ERA with a 44/26 K/BB ratio in 40 innings. In the event McCarthy falters, the club has Wood as well as Julio Urias and the injured Scott Kazmir as potential replacements.
The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.
Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.