Josh Hamilton stole the show from the Yu Darvish-C.J. Wilson matchup on Friday, hitting two more homers as part of the Rangers’ 10-3 win over the Angels. He now has 17 homers on the season.
Thanks in part to a lengthy rain delay in the first, the much anticipated pitching showdown was largely a dud. Facing his former team for the first time, Wilson didn’t come back after the delay and was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning. Both of Hamilton’s homers were hit off Jerome Williams. Darvish gave up three runs in 5 1/3 innings in his fifth victory.
Hamilton, who has actually missed three games this season, is just the third player ever to hit 17 homers in his team’s first 33 games. Cy Williams of the 1923 Phillies and Frank Howard of the 1968 Senators also had 17.
Hamilton is also the sixth player to hit as many as eight homers in a five-game span, according to ESPN stats. Shawn Green had nine homers in five games in 2002.
Hamilton finished the night 3-for-4 after barely getting thrown out on his bid for an infield single in his last at-bat. He’s hitting .406 and has 40 RBI in 118 at-bats. He’s currently just eight homers away from matching his 2011 total of 25 in 487 at-bats.
The opposing No. 3 hitter hasn’t been so hot. Albert Pujols went 0-for-4 tonight to drop his average back to .192. With one homer on the season, he’s 36 away from matching his 2011 total.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.
Free agent right-hander Jeff Manship has reportedly signed with the NC Dinos of the Korea Baseball Organization, according to FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman. The righty was non-tendered by the Indians in December.
Manship, 32, completed his second season with Cleveland in 2016. He delivered a 3.12 ERA, 4.6 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 rate over 43 1/3 innings, a slight decline after posting an 0.92 ERA with the club the year before. During eight years in the major leagues, Manship carries a 4.82 career ERA, 3.6 BB/9 and 6.4 SO/9 in multiple stints with the Twins, Rockies, Phillies and Indians.
The right-hander will be joined by fellow MLB transplants Eric Hacker and Xavier Scruggs, each of whom took one-year deals with the Dinos last month. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors notes that each KBO team is allowed up to three foreign players, so Manship will round out the trio when he joins the roster. Any salary terms have yet to be disclosed.