Josh Hamilton expected to make season debut for Rangers next week

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Josh Hamilton is “clearly making progress” and will likely make his season debut for the Rangers early next week, general manager Jon Daniels told the Associated Press.

Hamilton has been playing at Double-A and Triple-A, basically treating it as spring training after February shoulder surgery followed by alcohol and drug relapses led to a trade from the Angels.

Daniels pegged the Rangers’ series against the Indians that begins next Monday as the “more likely” return date for Hamilton, who won an MVP award for Texas in 2010.

Hamilton had back-to-back disappointing seasons for the Angels, but his .741 OPS during that time was still slightly above the MLB average and as recently as 2012 he hit .285 with 43 homers and a .930 OPS in 148 games for the Rangers to finish fifth in the MVP voting.

With the Angels paying nearly all the money Hamilton is owed the Rangers have decided he’s worth taking a low-cost flier on and we’re about to start finding out if it was a smart move.

Video: Pete Alonso hits home run no. 50

Pete Alonso
Getty Images
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Rookie first baseman Pete Alonso has launched what appears to be the beginning of an auspicious career, made all the more notable by the 50 home runs he’s produced for the Mets so far this season. The All-Star slugger pushed his home run streak to four straight games on Friday, collecting no. 50 on an eighth-inning fastball from the Reds’ Sal Romano.

It’s just the latest of a long line of accomplishments for the 24-year-old infielder. Entering Friday’s series opener against Cincinnati, the first-time All-Star carried a .266/.366/.590 batting line with a league-leading 49 homers, 113 RBI, a .956 OPS and 4.9 fWAR through 648 plate appearances. Among those who are still rounding out their rookie seasons in 2019, he ranks first in home runs and fWAR by a long shot: the White Sox’ Eloy Jiménez is second in home runs with 28 dingers, while the Astros’ Yordan Álvarez plays second fiddle in fWAR with 3.7 Wins Above Replacement.

Even more remarkable: Alonso is the second rookie in MLB history to deliver at least 50 home runs in a single season. The first? Aaron Judge, who clubbed a jaw-dropping 52 homers for the Yankees in 2017.