Tag:Josh Hamilton
Posted on: July 11, 2011 9:06 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:17 pm
 

Hamilton keeps game in perspective

By C. Trent Rosecrans

PHOENIX -- It's been a difficult week for Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton after the death of a fan in Arlington, Texas, who was reaching for a ball Hamilton tossed into the stands. During Monday's media availability, a Rangers representative stood behind Hamilton and told reporters he'd only answer questions relating to the incident for a few minutes.

During that time, Hamilton said he wouldn't use baseball to hide from troubling times, instead leaning on his experience that there are things much more important in life than baseball.

Hamilton also talked about what being in the All-Star Game means to him:



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Posted on: July 11, 2011 12:44 pm
Edited on: July 11, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Rangers murderer's row paces AL West All-Stars

By C. Trent Rosecrans

2011 All-Star Game
SEE THE OTHER DIVISION ALL-STARS: AL East | AL Central | NL East | NL Central | NL West

The American League West may be able to put together the best rotation in baseball, but putting together a lineup from players just from the division is a little tougher. Of the four teams in the division, only the Rangers are better than league average in runs (455), on-base percentage (.332), OPS (.788) and home runs (111). That makes it no surprise that our lineup for the American League West All-Star team has a heavy Ranger lean, as five of the nine position players are from Texas, including the heart of the order from No. 3 to No. 7 in the lineup.

Kurt SuzukiC Kurt Suzuki, Athletics: There are some serious slim pickings in this category, with the only real choice coming between the A's Suzuki and Seattle's Miguel Olivo. Neither was considered a snub when the All-Star team was announced, and for good reason. Suzuki is hitting .224/.291/.342, while Olivo is hitting .223/.265/.392. Olivo does have 12 home runs and 40 RBI, but I just could justify putting someone with a .265 on-base percentage on any time of All-Star team. Suzuki also brings top-flight defense, so he gets the nod.

Mitch Moreland1B Mitch Moreland, Rangers: This is an intriguing group of young first basemen. The preseason pick would have been Daric Barton, but he's now in the minor leagues. The Angels' Mark Trumbo (.259/.303/.474) and Mariners' Justin Smoak (.232/.330/.423)are starting to put up some good numbers, but the pick here is Moreland (.279/.341/.458), whose average numbers are better, even if his counting stats aren't up to the other two. The difference is small enough to go with the Moreland.

Lineup
No. Name Team Pos
1 Howard Kendrick ANA 2B
2 Peter Bourjos ANA CF
3 Josh Hamilton TEX LF
4 Michael Young TEX DH
5 Adrian Beltre TEX 3B
6 Nelson Cruz TEX RF
7 Mitch Moreland TEX 1B
8 Kurt Suzuki OAK C
9 Elvis Andrus TEX SS

Howie Kendrick2B Howard Kendrick, Angels: Finally, a real-live All-Star. The 27-year-old Kendrick is making his first All-Star appearance, hitting .305/.361/.466 with eight home runs and 29 RBI. A very good defensive second baseman, he also adds value by being able to play all over the diamond. He's started games at second base, left field and first base this season and has also started one game in his career at third base.

Adrian Beltre3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers: You can argue he's not worth the five-year, $80 million contract given to him by the Rangers, but it's tough to argue that he's not the best third baseman in the division. Hitting .272/.314/.492 with 18 home runs and 69 RBI, plus exceptional defense, the choice here is clear.

Elvis AndrusSS Elvis Andrus, Rangers: You're not going to confuse Andrus with Cal Ripken Jr. or Alex Rodriguez anytime soon, but the smooth-fielding shortstop is getting on base at a .332 clip and also has 26 stolen bases. Erick Aybar is equal with Andrus in batting average (.283) and better slugging (.431), but lower on-base percentage (.316). I'll take Andrus' glove, as well, so he gets the call.

Josh HamiltonLF Josh Hamilton, Rangers: Hamilton missed 36 games after suffering a broken bone in his shoulder in April, but he's still accumulated 11 home runs to go along with 49 RBI and a line of .305/.359/.549. While Hamilton's played all over the outfield, he's started the most games in left, and that's probably the best spot for him. And he's certainly the best choice in the division.

Peter BourjosCF Peter Bourjos, Angels: Although he's currently hobbled by tightness in his right hamstring, Bourjos is the class of AL West center fielders, hitting .272/.323/.397. He also covers a ton of ground, which helps in this division that features some spacious ballparks. 

Nelson CruzRF Nelson Cruz, Rangers: Like Hamilton, the Rangers right fielder has missed a good chunk of games with a trip to the disabled list in May, but he's still hit 20 home runs and knocked in 55. His .293 on-base percentage is lower than you'd like to see, but his slugging (.520) makes up for it. He beats out Torii Hunter who has a slightly better on-base percentage, much better defense, but pales in comparison in slugging.

Michael YoungDH Michael Young, Rangers: The Rangers sure are glad they didn't heed Young's trade request this offseason. Filling in at various spots in the field for injured Rangers, he's also taken to the designated hitter spot without a hiccup. Young is hitting .326/.360/.486 with eight home runs and 59 RBI. He's also played 25 games at first base, 11 at second base and four at third, while the bulk of his playing time has come as a DH.

Jered WeaverSP Jered Weaver, Angels: Starting pitching is probably the deepest category in this division -- and looking at the starting pitching across the AL West may help explain the tough time finding offensive standouts (or it could be vice-versa, though I'll stick with the pitching in this division). Weaver gets the nod with a record of  11-4 and a 1.86 ERA. He's struck out 120 in 140 1/3 innings and walked just 31. Weaver lost his arbitration case with the Angels this year, he'll have a pretty good case this offseason, going into his last arbitration year. Apologies to Dan Haren (10-5, 2.61), Felix Hernandez (8-7, 3.19), C.J. Wilson (9-3, 3.20), Michael Pineda (8-6, 3.03) and Gio Gonzalez (8-6, 2.47).

Scott DownsMR Scott Downs, Angels: The 35-year-old Downs has been around so long that he's a former Expo, but he's maybe having his best season yet. Signed by the Angels this offseason, he's produced for his new team, going 5-2 with a 1.52 ERA, striking out 20 in 29 2/3 innings. He gets the nod over A's side-armer Brad Ziegler (2-1, 1.78).

Jordan WaldenCL Jordan Walden, Angels: The All-Star picked up his 20th save of the season on Sunday, closing out the Angels' victory over the Mariners by striking out the only batter he faced. His ERA is down to 2.84 and has 40 strikeouts in 37 innings, while walking 17. Brandon League is also an All-Star and his 23 saves lead the American League. His lower strikeouts and higher ERA are the reason Walden gets the nod, even though the Angel has two more blown saves than League.

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Posted on: July 9, 2011 11:25 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 11:33 am
 

Hamilton's foul hits fan in face

Josh Hamilton

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Josh HamiltonJust a day after the tragedy in Arlington, Texas, that saw a fan fall to his death trying to catch a ball thrown by Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, another Rangers fan was hit in the head by a foul ball off the bat of Hamilton in the sixth inning of Friday's game against the A's.

"I saw it happen. Again," Hamilton told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Luckily the fan was able to walk away under his own power, but might need stitches.

"There are certain time I wish people would play closer attention," Hamilton said. "Not be on the phone, not be turned away from us talking. When you're sitting around the dugouts and sitting just off the side of the net, the ball can hurt you."

He's right. Stadiums are being built with less and less foul territory, putting fans closer to the action. But closer to the action means closer to danger -- and combine that with iPads, smart phones and numerous other distractions, a ball can be on you before you notice.

Hamilton said he was thinking about Shannon Stone throughout Friday night's 8-5 victory. Hamilton went 1 for 5 in the game.

"Every time a ball went into the stands or the second deck, you kind of hold your breath and hope it doesn't happen again," Hamilton said.

(H/T to Big League Stew)

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Posted on: July 9, 2011 1:30 am
 

3 Up, 3 Down: McKenry's unlikely bomb



By Matt Snyder


Michael McKenry, Pirates. McKenry dug into the batter's box against the Cubs' Carlos Marmol in the bottom of the eighth Friday night with the game tied at four and two men on base. McKenry hit a three-run homer that would be the eventual game-winner. Sure, Marmol is a fickle closer, but he does not cough up the long ball with any semblance of regularity. Check this out: In the past three seasons (coming into Friday night), Marmol had faced 840 hitters and allowed four home runs. Four! McKenry had zero career major-league home runs before the at-bat. He does have 69 minor-league homers, but that's in over 2,000 plate appearances. So this was the longshot of the night. Meanwhile, the Pirates would have been tied for first place had the Reds not blown a lead in the ninth inning. Still, the Bucs sit a game out of first and had a dramatic victory in front of the home fans.

Travis Snider, Blue Jays. The Jays had to have felt a bit deflated after losing on a walk-off grand slam Thursday night to the Indians, but they came back strong with an 11-7 win. Sure, the bullpen tried to blow the game again (it was 8-2 at one point), but the offense was relentless. It pounded out 11 runs on 16 hits. Rajai Davis was great, but Snider stood out for me. He went 3-5 with a double, home run, two runs and five RBI. He's been a promising prospect for a while but never really put things together for an extended stretch. Maybe he's doing so now, because he's hitting .409 with five doubles, a home run and eight RBI since resurfacing in the lineup on July 4.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers. I don't even want to think what he's going through. Had I been the one who tried to toss a ball up into the crowd for a father to give to his young son, and then seen that father plunge to his untimely demise ... well, I don't know. I'm sure I'd keep playing it over and over in my head that had I just not thrown the ball ... Or thrown it higher ... Man, it would be so tough to get past that. It's not Hamilton's fault at all, but it's human nature to start thinking about things like that. He heard the boy screaming for his Daddy, for God's sake. How can you get through that? And Hamilton showed up for work Friday and answered all the questions with grace and sensitivity. He played in the Rangers' 8-5 win, too. Kudos to him for keeping himself together and let's hope that continues.



Zach Britton, Orioles. It would be safe to say the future ace has hit the proverbial wall. Through nine starts, Britton had a 2.14 ERA and easily would have been a Rookie of the Year candidate. He had a quality start next time out. Since then, however, it's been ugly. From May 29 leading into Friday, Britton had a 5.35 ERA and 1.58 WHIP. And then Friday night was a catastrophe. Britton only recorded two outs while allowing six hits, two walks and eight runs. At age 23, and with the Orioles going absolutely nowhere this year, it's worth thinking about optioning him to Triple-A to salvage some confidence.

Brian Wilson, Giants. I thought people feared the beard? Maybe Wilson needs to just finally give in and shave. Friday night, he entered with a tie game in the ninth inning against the Mets. He coughed up a home run to Scott Hairston and took the loss. In Wilson's past five outings, he's blown two saves and has Friday's loss. His ERA in those games is 7.20 and twice he's been pulled before finishing an inning on his own. Maybe he's overworked, but the only people fearing this small sample are Giants fans who realize the offense isn't good enough to overcome Wilson faltering.

Padres' offense. One week ago, almost to the minute, I posted that the Padres would make dubious history before the All-Star break. They did Friday night. They have now been shutout 14 times before the All-Star break, which amounts to 15.6 percent of the time they suit up. No team in recent memory has been so futile offensively. The closest match was the 2004 Expos, who were shutout 13 times before the break.

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Posted on: July 8, 2011 6:05 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2011 1:49 am
 

Hamilton talks about accident

By Matt Snyder

It's likely words can't express what Josh Hamilton is going through right now. I know I can't imagine what it would feel like to toss a ball up to a fan as a nice gesture and have a freak accident result in a death. Even though it's not even remotely his fault, it feels like one of those things anyone would second-guess forever. Hamilton spoke to the media before Friday night's game against the A's, and he seems to be in as good a place as he could possibly be. All quotes that follow are from Hamilton himself, via the Star-Telegram.

"Behind me I heard someone say 'Hey Hamilton, how about the next one.' I turned around and Stone was the first guy I saw sitting there with his son. I gave him a nod, and I got the next one and threw it in that direction. I just remember it happened in slow motion. Obviously, as soon as it happened, I couldn't help but think about what was happening behind that fence."

On reaching out to the Stone family: "Absolutely. I haven't yet. I'm going to give this situation time to, you hate to think sink in, but I can't imagine what they're going through right now. I can't imagine. All I can think about is praying for them and knowing that God has a plan. You don't always know what that plan is when those things happen, but you will."

On what his night was like when he went home: "She (his wife Katie) stayed up with me and talked with me and gave me some encouragement and support. She was there to talk to me if I needed to. The kids stayed up to talk to me for a while. It was just hard for me, hearing the little boy screaming for his daddy after he had fallen, and then being home with my kids really hit home last night."

There's a full transcript on Star-Telegram.com, but the basic gist is that Hamilton's obviously going through a rough time -- likely not near as much as those close to Stone, but it would still be rough.

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Category: MLB
Posted on: July 5, 2011 8:19 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 9:00 pm
 

Picking a better Derby field

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Prince Fielder and David Ortiz have picked their teams for next week's Home Run Derby, and while all the picks are good, I'd pick a different squad.

If I were in Fielder's or Ortiz's shoes, here's who I'd pick:

National League
Wily Mo Pena, Diamondbacks: Five of Wily Mo's eight hits have reached the seats. He's struck out 17 times and hasn't walked, but that's real baseball. This is the Home Run Derby -- few can hit them as far as Pena -- especially when they're all straight and all in the strike zone. You know who agrees with me? The American League captain. Ortiz was asked about adding Pena and told WEEI.com, "That's not good. We would lose right away."

Check out this homer at Comerica Park -- which is hardly a bandbox.


Mike Stanton, Marlins: Like Pena, Stanton is a big, big man. Twelve of Stanton's 14 home runs have traveled more than 400 feet. I don't care if he's not seeing the ball clearly, this is a batting practice show and few can put on a show like Stanton.

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: This is the one that Fielder and I agree on, and not just because Upton has the homefield advantage (which is a real advantage in this case). Upton has 13 home runs this season and according to HitTrackerOnline.com, only Fielder has hit a ball further than Upton's 478-foot bomb off of Chris Carpenter on April 12.


American League
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays: The guy has 81 homers since 2010 began, you'd be a fool not to pick him. It's no surprise he was the first guy Ortiz called. He'd be my first call, too.

Josh Hamilton, Rangers: His 28-homer first-round performance at the 2008 Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium is probably the most memorable Derby of all time. Hamilton said would have listened had Ortiz called him. He'd be my second call after Bautista.

Ichiro Suzuki, Mariners: And here's my wild card. Suzuki has just one homer this season and has averaged less than 10 a year in his career, but anyone who has watched Suzuki in batting practice knows in that setting he can put the ball into the seats at will. In the Derby, you not only want the big boppers, but also the guys who can put together a streak of homers. Suzuki can do just about anything he wants with a bat, plus it'd be fun to watch the tiny Suzuki with all the other hulking players I've picked.

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 7:04 pm
 

Home Run Derby field rounding out

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David OrtizDavid Ortiz has a posse.

In the new setup for the Home Run Derby, each team has a captain that picks his team for the competition. Sunday the American League captain said he'd started rounding up his crew.

Ortiz has already gotten commitments from teammate Adrian Gonzalez and the majors' leading home-run hitter, Jose Bautista. Ortiz told reporters he'd wanted the Yankees' Mark Teixeira, but Teixeira was left off the All-Star roster. Teixeira, though, told reporters after Sunday's game that he wasn't interested in participating in the Home Run Derby (MLB.com's Bryan Hoch on Twitter). Ortiz said he's still waiting to hear from Teixeira whether or not he'd still participate. The next two names on his list are the Yankees' Robinson Cano and the Rangers' Josh Hamilton.

"I've talked to Cano, and he told me he would do it," Ortiz told reporters, including Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. "I haven't talked to Hamilton. I haven't talked to him, but that guy got me tired hitting bombs [at Yankee Stadium in 2008], and if he wanted to do it, I might say, 'OK, hit for me.'"

Hamilton had previously said he doesn't want to participate in the derby, but on Sunday he told the Associated Press he'd consider it if Ortiz asked. 

Prince Fielder said he wants the Dodgers' Matt Kemp on his side. Fielder told MLB.com that he hadn't talked to Kemp, but has communicated with him through former Brewer and current Dodger outfielder Tony Gwynn.

Fielder's teammate, Ryan Braun, said he wouldn't participate, while Rickie Weeks is on Fielder's short list. Weeks said he hasn't been asked, but would participate if Fielder picks him.

Cardinals outfielders Lance Berkman and Matt Holliday expressed interest in participating, as well.

"It would be hard to turn down an invitation," Berkman told MLB.com. "That would be tough to say no."

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Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:11 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 12:45 pm
 

All-Star starters announced

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Here's your leading vote-getters at each All-Star position, with the Yankees and Brewers leading the way:

American League

DH: David Ortiz, Red Sox

C: Alex Avila, Tigers

1B: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox

2B: Robinson Cano, Yankees

SS: Derek Jeter, Yankees

3B: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees

OF: Jose Bautista, Blue Jays*

OF: Curtis Granderson, Yankees

OF: Josh Hamilton, Rangers

National League

C: Brian McCann, Braves

1B: Prince Fielder, Brewers

2B: Rickie Weeks, Brewers

SS: Jose Reyes, Mets

3B: Placido Polanco, Phillies

OF: Ryan Braun, Brewers**

OF: Lance Berkman, Cardinals

OF: Matt Kemp, Dodgers

* Overall leading vote-getter

** National League leading vote-getter

 My initial thought is the fans got it pretty much right -- with, of course, the notable exception of Derek Jeter. He's the only one who has no business on the team, but 16 of 17 isn't too shabby.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com