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.
Thursday is September 1, which means rosters expand. As a result, the Nationals plan to promote pitcher Mat Latos to the major league roster, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports. Latos had an opt-out clause for Monday, but after discussing the matter with the team, he agreed to stay at Triple-A Syracuse until Thursday.
Latos, 28, put up a 4.62 ERA over 11 starts with the White Sox before being released in mid-June. Nearly two weeks later, he signed a minor league contract with the Nationals.
In the Nationals’ minor league system, Latos has made three starts for the club’s Gulf Coast League team as well as three for Syracuse. In aggregate, the right-hander has yielded six runs (four earned) on 20 hits and 10 walks with 28 strikeouts in 28 innings.
Latos will likely pitch out of a long relief role for the Nationals and can be used as starting rotation insurance as well.
Mark Buehrle hasn’t officially retired, but he hasn’t thrown a pitch in professional baseball since last October. Still, the Blue Jays wouldn’t mind having some insurance, so manager John Gibbons recently texted Buehrle, “You know, rosters expand in September,” Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports.
Buehrle’s response? He texted back a picture of a lake. Sounds like he’s not interested in making a return, at least this year.
Last year, at the age of 36, Buehrle went 15-8 with a 3.81 ERA with a 91/33 K/BB ratio in 198 2/3 innings while leading the league with four complete games. He fell 1 1/3 innings shy of a 15th consecutive 200-inning season. There are many worse ways to end a career.