Nolan Ryan says Josh Hamilton is giving at bats away

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Early this season it looked like it’d be impossible for the Rangers to let Josh Hamilton walk when he hits free agency this fall. Then Hamilton started to skid and he hasn’t stopped. In June he hit .223/.318/.436. In July he’s hitting .172/.242/.345. He has a grand total of seven homers in those two months.

Nolan Ryan was asked about it on a radio show the other day and this is what he had to say:

You’re right that some of his at bats aren’t very impressive from the standpoint that he doesn’t work deep into the count, he’s swinging at a lot of bad pitches, he just doesn’t seem to be locked in at all. So what you’re hoping is that his approach will change and he’ll start giving quality at bats because there’s a lot of those at bats that he just gives away. One of the things I’ve always commented on is I can’t ever say that I ever saw Henry [Hank] Aaron give an at bat away.

He speaks truth. And maybe I’m reading way too much into this, but I get the sense than he’s doing more than just describing what’s wrong with Hamilton. Rather, he’s also laying the groundwork for letting Hamilton walk after this year without Rangers fans going crazy. Reminding them that while Hamilton may be talented, he’s not the sort of superstar [cough] Hank Aaron [cough] that only comes around once in a lifetime and, yes, we will survive without him.

Clayton Kershaw might return to the Dodgers’ rotation next week

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Dodgers southpaw Clayton Kershaw is nearing his return to the mound, according to club manager Dave Roberts. Both Kershaw (left biceps tendinitis) and fellow lefty Rich Hill (left middle finger blister) are scheduled to toss simulated games on Saturday; depending on the outcome, Roberts says Kershaw could forgo a minor league assignment and slot back into the rotation by Thursday.

Kershaw, 30, was diagnosed with biceps tendinitis as the team closed out their Mexico Series at the start of the month. He has not made a start in several weeks, but was finally able to resume throwing on Sunday and managed to get through two successful bullpen sessions. Though Dodgers’ ace hasn’t been completely injury-free over his 11-year career in the majors, this is the first significant issue he’s had with his pitching arm so far. The team is expected to take every precaution with the lefty, and will likely limit him to just four innings during Saturday’s simulated game.

Prior to his injury, Kershaw was working on another dominant run with the club, sporting a 2.86 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 9.8 SO/9 through his first 44 innings of the season. While Kershaw, Hill and left-handed starter Hyun-Jin Ryu served their respective terms on the disabled list this month, the Dodgers utilized a combination of relievers Ross Stripling and Brock Stewart, both of whom impressed during their limited time in the rotation.