Josh Hamilton took a major step in his comeback Monday, playing in an extended spring training game at the Rangers’ complex in Arizona for his first game action since October.
Hamilton went 0-for-4 with one strikeout and three ground outs, according to the Associated Press, and afterward Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton “seems to be 100 percent” healthy and “you can’t tell there was an issue” with his surgically repaired shoulder.
For now the plan is for Hamilton to join the Triple-A team soon, likely for a couple weeks, at which point the Rangers will assess his status and potentially add him to the active roster before the end of the month. In plenty of time for a series against the Angels that starts July 3.
It seems impossible to know what to expect from Hamilton in terms of on-field production at this point, but every quote from a Rangers official certainly paints the team as very optimistic they’ll be getting a quality player for pennies on the dollar after the Angels dumped his contract.
Adam Ottavino was promoted to the Rockies’ closer role in mid-April only to be shut down with elbow problems a week later and now the 29-year-old right-hander is expected to miss the rest of the season following Tommy John surgery.
Ottavino finishes the season with a 0.00 ERA and 13/2 K/BB ratio in 10 innings, which shows the type of standout reliever he’d become after years as a bullpen afterthought. Dating back to the start of 2013 he logged 154 innings with a 2.87 ERA and 161 strikeouts despite calling Coors Field home.
John Axford replaced Ottavino as the Rockies’ closer and once LaTroy Hawkins returns from a biceps injury it’s possible the 42-year-old could get another crack at ninth-inning duties after being replaced by Ottavino early.
Twins left fielder Oswaldo Arcia is headed to the disabled list with a hip injury and to replace him on the roster they’ve called up 23-year-old outfield prospect Eddie Rosario from Triple-A.
Not so long ago Rosario was viewed as a very good prospect, frequently making top-100 lists, but he was suspended for the first 50 games of last season following a positive drug test and has struggled since returning.
Last season he hit just .237 with eight homers and a 68/17 K/BB ratio in 79 games at Double-A on the way to a .672 OPS. He’s been almost exactly as bad this season at Triple-A, hitting .242 with three homers, a 17/5 K/BB ratio, and a .659 OPS in 23 games. He also hit .233 with a 9/0 K/BB ratio in 17 spring training games, yet the Twins touted his performance throughout camp in what was apparently foreshadowing for this move.
Aaron Hicks, a former top prospect playing much better than Rosario in the same Triple-A outfield, was bypassed for the call-up. It’s also tough timing for Arcia, who’d been playing better of late and was hitting .276 with two homers and a .718 OPS in 19 games overall this season at age 24.