Author: Matthew Pouliot

Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton says the Texas fan reaction ‘hurts a bit’


Josh Hamilton knew the boos were coming in his return to Arlington on Friday, but he was still disappointed by much of what he heard in the Rangers’ 3-2 win over the Angels.

“It probably hurts a little bit more to know that people would just turn that quickly,” Hamilton said. “You know, to think that they kind of supported you, as far as personally, [my] story, things like that. But it just tells you a lot.”

Hamilton also admitted to being anxious while striking out in his first two at-bats. And since he knows some of the ire today was generated with comments he made about Dallas not being a baseball town, he did play along, mimicking throwing a football and making a handoff.

Still, the money quote from today’s festivities will be the one in which Hamilton supposedly compared himself to Jesus. Though he didn’t really do that. According to the Dallas Morning News, the story went like this:

Hamilton said that during the game someone in the Angels dugout, whom he declined to identify, offered a supportive message.

“He said, ‘Where was Jesus got-after the most?’” Hamilton recalled. “He said, ‘His hometown.’ Obviously, baseball-wise, this was my hometown.”

Hamilton finished the game 0-for-4 and had a couple of misplays in right field. He still has two more days off boos coming this weekend.

Reds hit six homers, four off Dan Haren, in beating Nationals

Washington Nationals v Cincinnati Reds

Sweeping the Marlins wasn’t much of a tuneup for tonight; the Nationals gave up a whopping six homers Friday in a 15-0 loss to the Reds.

Nationals pitchers had allowed just one run this season before Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart hit back-to-back jacks in the second inning tonight. Both would go deep again later in the contest, and Shin-Soo Choo and Xavier Paul added homers of their own in the rout.

Haren, making his regular-season Nationals debut, gave up four homers for the fifth time in his career. He’s never allowed more. His velocity hasn’t been what the Nationals were hoping for when they gave him a one-year, $13 million contract in the offseason, and he’s now given up 11 homers in 31 1/3 innings since the beginning of the spring.

The six homers was the most the Nationals have given up since the Expos moved to D.C. The franchise last surrendered six homers in a game against the Braves on July 7, 2004.

The Reds hit six homers for the first time since connecting on seven against the Padres on Aug. 13, 2011.

In addition to the barrage at the plate, the Reds got six scoreless innings from Homer Bailey. Cozart had his first career two-homer game, while Frazier delivered his second.

Phillies give up 13 runs to Royals, but it didn’t have to be this way

Erik Kratz, Chris Getz

I should start by writing about the intentional walk that went bad in the Royals’ rout of the Phillies on Friday.  With the Phillies up 4-2 and one out in the sixth, manager Charlie Manuel decided he’d rather have lefty Jeremy Horst face Alex Gordon with the bases loaded than Kyle Kendrick or a right-handed reliever face pinch-hitter Billy Butler with runners on second and third.

That, I think, is a defensible decision. Gordon is excellent, but not so much against lefties, while Horst limited lefties to a .170 average last season.

Gordon, of course, made it look bad, delivering a triple that put the Royals on top 5-4. Kansas City just kept piling on from there, finally winning the game 13-4.

But rather than focus on Manuel’s intentional walk, I’d rather point towards Ruben Amaro’s bullpen. Because it should be noted that five of the Royals’ runs today came against a pair of 35-year-old journeymen: Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes.

The Phillies finished last season loaded with talented, but unproven, young relievers: Phillippe Aumont, Justin De Fratus, Jake Diekman, Josh Lindblom, Michael Schwimer. All were rather successful in the minors, some had shown flashes in the majors. All were 24-26 years old.

Right now, just one of those pitchers in on the major league roster: Aumont. He worked one scoreless inning in the Opening Day loss to the Braves and hasn’t been seen since. De Fratus and Diekman are in Triple-A. Lindblom was sent to Texas for Michael Young. Schwimer was given away to the Blue Jays because he threatened a grievance over how the Phillies handled an injury last year.

Instead of those intriguing younger arms, the Phillies are going with Durbin and Valdes. And it’s not because they needed the experience late in games. They’re paying through the nose for Jonathan Papelbon and Mike Adams to work the last two innings. It’s because Amaro, when it doubt, much prefers his veterans. Time will tell whether it pays off.

Change of plans? Yankees to activate Phil Hughes, start him Saturday

New York Yankees v Detroit Tigers

Phil Hughes was scheduled to make a rehab start Saturday after opening the season on the disabled list with a bulging disc in his back, but the Yankees announced after Friday’s game that he’ll be activated to start against the Tigers instead.

David Phelps will return to the pen to make room for Hughes in the rotation. Adam Warren presumably will be sent down.

It’s reasonable to suspect that this was the Yankees’ plan all along, and that they just stashed Hughes on the DL so that they could carry an extra reliever in the first four games of the season (players who start the season on the DL only have to stay there for five days, assuming they didn’t take part in any games the last 10 days of the spring).

Still, if that’s the case, the Yankees did cover their tracks really well. According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News’, Hughes’ bags were already checked in for a flight to Newark when he got the word he was going to Detroit instead.

Hughes never got into a Grapefruit League game this spring after being diagnosed with the bulging disc in February. He went 16-13 with a 4.19 ERA for the Yankees last year.