After being criticized by Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan earlier this week, Josh Hamilton is now hearing it from some of his home fans.
Hamilton went 0-for-4 in last night’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox. While he at least contributed with a sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out, a smattering of boos could be heard after he struck out in the third and fifth innings.
According to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hamilton wasn’t happy about being booed in his home ballpark, but acknowledged that it comes with the territory.
“Yeah, I noticed but it’s all about what have you done for me lately, no matter who you are,” Hamilton said. “That’s what it is. There are more fans that are still cheering and encouraging me than the ones that are booing.
“I pray for the ones that are [booing] and I appreciate the support of the other ones.”
Hamilton, who has fought addiction his entire career, has heard plenty from fans across the country. But what did he make of the hometown crowd booing him?
“It’s disappointing,” he said.
Hamilton paused and repeated: “It’s disappointing. It is. I’ll leave it at that.”
Hamilton is currently tied with Miguel Cabrera for the American League lead with 83 RBI, but his slump has lingered for nearly two months. The impending free agent is hitting just .190 with seven homers and a 56/18 K/BB ratio in 186 plate appearances since the start of June, which has seen his batting average tumble from .368 to .284 overall.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.