Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton is historically hot.
The 30-year-old impending free agent outfielder hit a two-run homer in the first inning, a two-run homer in the third, a double in the fifth, a two-run homer in the seventh and yet another two-run blast in the eighth as Texas rolled to a 10-3 victory over the Orioles on Tuesday evening at Baltimore’s Camden Yards.
To recap: Hamilton finished the night 5-for-5 with four home runs, a double and eight RBI. He set a new American League record with his 18 total bases and became just the 16th player in major league history to go deep four times in one game.
The former No. 1 overall pick now has five big flies in his last six plate appearances and boasts a stellar .406/.458/.840 batting line on the season. He’s tallied 14 total homers and 36 RBI in just 30 games played.
Not all players coming in to spring training are in The Best Shapes of Their Lives. Some have put on a few pounds, such as Miguel Sano, notes Twins GM Thad Levine:
Sano has been given medical clearance to engage in all baseball workouts with his teammates, his surgically reinforced left shin now completely healed, though the Twins intend to lighten his schedule to prevent any new injuries.
They’d like to lighten something else, too: His “generous carriage,” as General Manager Thad Levine delicately put it last week. Sano’s conditioning understandably lags, after a winter largely spent incapacitated by the surgery.
Sano’s conditioning has often been a topic of conversation among the members of the Minnesota press corps, though not always in good faith. For example, last year when Sano injured his shin by fouling a ball off of it, one member of the The Fourth Estate found a way to make a column out of blaming the freak injury on Sano’s conditioning. At least in this instance his colleague is correctly noting that the poor conditioning is a result of the injury and not the cause.
Still, it’s just another issue facing Sano this spring. He’s out of shape, coming off of an injury, and — not that he’s due any sympathy for it — he’s facing a likely suspension arising out of the allegations of sexual assault leveled against him late last year.
So this spring we’ll be seeing more of Sano, it seems. At least until that time we’ll be seeing less of him.