Hamilton still in hospital with pneumonia, but improving

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Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was hospitalized earlier this week with what was being termed “an early case of pneumonia.”

Now we have an update.

Hamilton is still in the hospital and isn’t expected to get out until the weekend, but the Rangers are saying that he has shown “significant improvement” and that he is only being held in order to accelerate his recovery.

Spring training doesn’t get underway until late February and the 2010 American League MVP has over a month to regain whatever strength he might have lost this week to the illness.

Hamilton hit .359/.411/.633 last year with 32 home runs, 100 RBI and eight stolen bases as the Rangers traveled all the way to the World Series.  He also played his typical brand of excellent defense in the outfield.

Cardinals shut down Carlos Martínez for two weeks due to shoulder issue

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MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.

Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”

Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.

Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.