Josh Hamilton has picked up where he left off

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When Josh Hamilton went down after a fast start to the season, it just seemed like he and the Angels were snakebitten. He was turning it around after a lost 2013 season and the Angels, after two seasons of grand disappointment, were looking pretty respectable for once.

But a funny thing happened: the Angels continued to play well in Hamilton’s absence and in the six games since has returned, Hamilton has hit the ball as if he hadn’t missed a beat.

Hamilton went 2 for 4 with three RBI in the Angels’ 4-2 win over the White Sox yesterday, hitting an RBI double in the third inning and a two-run single in the fifth drove in two more. Since returning from the disabled list, Hamilton has gone 8 for 23 (.348) with five RBI in six games.

The two-month layoff seems to have done nothing to Hamilton’s red hot bat. And the Angels, though still trailing the A’s by four and a half games, are still looking pretty darn good. If the season ended today they’d be the top seed wild card. As it is not ending today, it is still worth noting that they seem just as well if not better set up as any of the other second place teams to remain strong contenders for a playoff spot.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.