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.
A battle between an MVP and a Cy Young Award winner is always fun. Even when it’s in Nashville, years after either of them were of elite quality. That was the case with Josh Hamilton’s return to action in his first rehab game yesterday, where he faced Barry Zito:
Recovering from shoulder surgery, the 2010 American League MVP went 1-for-3 against the 2002 AL Cy Young Award winner as Round Rock was blanked, 7-0, by Nashville at First Tennessee Park.
Hamilton singled in his first at-bat, then struck out in the third and fifth innings, getting fooled by Zito (1-3), who was topping out at 85 mph.
Good to see Hamilton coming back. But on some level it’s even better to see Zito chugging along.
When Zito announced his comeback in the offseason, it seemed inevitable that it would be followed up with a retirement announcement if and when he didn’t make the A’s roster. Which would’ve been fine. Zito doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. He had a nice career and has a beautiful wife, some gorgeous real estate and one of those Scrooge McDuck vault/swimming pools full of gold waiting for him back in California. If he hung it up, no one could say boo to him. At least he tried and went out on his terms.
Yet, even though he didn’t make the A’s, he accepted a minor league assignment most guys in his place wouldn’t have accepted. Here he is, in Nashville, Tennessee on a humid and crappy 90 degree day, pitching against one legit big leaguer and a bunch of kids. The A’s may not call him up ever, even if he pitches well because sometimes politics and things enter into those decisions. You figure he’s getting some heckling when he’s on the road too, because minor league crowds love to give it to former All-Stars. It can’t be a particularly glamorous existence.
But he’s pitching. Playing baseball, presumably, because he loves to play baseball and realized he missed it when he sat out last year. There’s something really damn admirable about that.
After spending some time in Arizona at the Rangers’ extended spring training complex Josh Hamilton is ready to start playing at Triple-A.
Jeff Wilson of the Forth Worth Star Telegram reports that Hamilton could join Triple-A Round Rock as soon as Sunday, beginning what figures to be a multi-week stint there.
Hamilton is on the disabled list following February shoulder surgery and the Angels traded him to the Rangers while eating the majority of his remaining contract after a setback with his sobriety.
Based on various quotes from Rangers officials Hamilton’s surgically repaired shoulder is basically healed, but he simply needs to get game reps after not playing since October.
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.
Everyone is talking about the bonus the Yankees seem intent on not paying Alex Rodriguez for tying and, eventually, passing Willie Mays for number four on the all-time home run list. Everyone, that is, except for A-Rod:
“I’m just happy to be playing baseball. That’s family business. That’s nowhere near where my energy is these days. My energy is playing the game tonight. Just baseball . . . “I’ve been in a good place for a while now, and it’s just fun to be playing baseball. I’ve learned my lesson. The old (A-Rod) is gone.”
The “old A-Rod” referring to litigious A-Rod. Which isn’t to say that he and/or the union won’t do something about this at some point, but it makes way more sense for him to wait until the season is over so he doesn’t have to answer questions about it and stuff all year.
As we’ve noted here many times in the past, the whole home run bonus thing is a legal matter which is hard to assess without actually having access to the marketing agreement that created the bonus. This isn’t necessarily like guaranteed player salaries or bonuses in standard contracts governed by the CBA. There may, in fact, be legal and straightforwardly defensible ways for the Yankees to withhold the bonuses, so talking about the team as “reneging” on the deal or breaching a contract is premature and could, technically speaking, be wrong.
Bigger picture, however, it’s impossible to see the Yankees’ effort to avoid paying on this as anything other than a bit of spite based on a rocky relationship with A-Rod over the past several years. To exploit a “because we can” argument as opposed to appreciating “because we should” reasoning. In this, it’s not unlike the Cubs dealings with Kris Bryant’s service time or, perhaps, the Angels’ understanding of their rights with respect to Josh Hamilton.
Put differently, what is legal and what is right is not often the same thing. And sometimes pursuing one of those ends means ignoring the other.