All the positive, optimistic quotes about how good Josh Hamilton looked at the Rangers’ extended spring training complex have given way to him going 1-for-7 with three strikeouts through two minor-league rehab games at Triple-A.
Hamilton hasn’t played since October and is making his way back from February shoulder surgery as well as drug and alcohol relapses, so a couple tough games is no big deal. Still, it seems pretty clear that he’ll need a while to get back into game shape following the trade from the Angels to the Rangers.
Oh, and his time at Triple-A Round Rock also included this, via the Associated Press (and pictured to the right):
Hamilton obliged an unusual request before the game when a fan asked him to sign a baby’s butt.
“That’s happened before. … When you play long enough you’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff,” he said.
He’s expected to spend at least two weeks at Triple-A, so keep those pens ready.
Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star is one of baseball’s best beat reporters in part because he often passes along stories like this one, about the time Royals right-hander Edinson Volquez tricked then-Rangers teammates Joaquin Benoit and Vicente Padilla out of $600:
One day during spring training in 2005, Rangers officials informed him he needed to shave his dreadlocks to conform to their minor-league policy. Volquez sensed an opportunity.
Earlier in camp, veterans such as Vicente Padilla and Joaquin Benoit scolded him about his hair. So Volquez asked Padilla, who was unaware of the team’s edict, how much he would pay for Volquez’s haircut. Padilla offered $300. Volquez balked, only to see Benoit double the bid.
“I was like ‘$600? I can do it for $600!’ ” Volquez said Monday, a day before he would face his old club at this stadium, now christened Globe Life Park in Arlington. “And I did it. I took the money, and I got my hair cut.”
Did he pay them back? Volquez shook his head and cackled.
Ending a story with a cackle is always a great idea.
And since I looked this up: Their respective career earnings are $33 million for Volquez, $39 million for Benoit, and $51 million for Padilla.
Last season the Rangers rushed top prospect Rougned Odor to the majors as a 20-year-old and now they’re sending him back to the minors after he hit just .237 with 10 homers and a .658 OPS in 143 games.
Odor actually held his own for the most part last season despite making the jump from Double-A, but this season he hit .144 in 29 games to convince the Rangers he’s better off back in the minors. He’ll report to Triple-A, where Odor has never played previously.
Long term Odor remains a very good bet, but his current inability to control the strike zone is a major weakness (and not unexpected for such a young, inexperienced player). For the Rangers he drew just 24 walks in 520 plate appearances while striking out 96 times.
Adam Rosales figures to take over as the Rangers’ primary second baseman.