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Texas Rangers release Josh Hamilton after yet another knee injury

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Josh Hamilton, on a minor league deal with the Rangers, left spring training in late February with a bum knee on which he had surgery. Turns out that, during rehab from that surgery, he injured it again. He was already supposed to be out for 2-3 months, and given the setback the Rangers have done the inevitable: the released him.

The latest setback would likely call for the fourth major procedure on his knee since the end of the 2015 season. He’s had many more knee surgeries in his career as it is. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. At this point you have to ask whether all of that cutting and scoping is going to impact not just his athletic career but his quality of life after baseball.

In light of that, this all but certainly ends Hamilton’s baseball career. An improbable career that, at one point, no one ever thought would get going due to is severe substance abuse issues as a minor leaguer in the Tampa Bay Devil Rays system. But after a late start with the Reds, Hamilton went on to be one of the best players in the game for a time, making five All-Star teams and winning the 2010 MVP Award with the Rangers. He signed a huge contract with the Angels before the 2013 season, but only managed one full season with them during which his production fell off sharply.

If this is the end for Hamilton, it was certainly an interesting playing career. Here’s hoping that whatever he does next brings him peace and joy.

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
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There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: