Tag:Josh Hamilton
Posted on: October 28, 2011 4:04 am

Hamilton says his HR was called, from above

ST. LOUIS -- Josh Hamilton hadn't homered in more than a month.

He's hurting. We all know that by now. He has a groin injury, maybe a sports hernia.

By this time next week, he may well be having surgery.

And when he came to the plate in the 10th inning of an incredible Game 6, he knew he was going to hit a home run.

"The Lord told me it was going to happen," Hamilton said. "He said, 'You haven't hit a home run in a while. You're going to hit one now.'

"Believe it if you want."

As you might have guessed, Hamilton believed it.

"It was probably the most relaxed, peaceful at-bat I've had in a long time," he said.

Did the Lord tell him what pitch Jason Motte would throw?

"No, but I kind of figured that out on my own," said Hamilton, who hit a 98 mph fastball.

Hamilton's home run put the Rangers ahead of the Cardinals, 9-7. It stood to be a World Series winner, until the Cards scored twice to tie the game in the bottom of the 10th.

But Hamilton said none of that was in the message he heard as he walked to the plate.

"It wasn't like a premonition, 'You're going to do this, and you're going to win,'" Hamilton said. "It was, 'You're going to do this -- period.'"

He heard it, and he did it.

"It was pretty cool, man," he said.

Believe it if you want.
Posted on: October 28, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: October 28, 2011 12:42 am

More Cardinal miracles, and on to Game 7

ST. LOUIS -- At this point, how would you ever think the Cardinals can lose?

Seriously, what would convince you? Down 10 runs with one out to go?

They were done in the regular season, they seemed done a few times in the playoffs and they sure seemed done in Game 6 of the World Series on Thursday night.

In the ninth inning. In the 10th inning.

If needed, they no doubt would have gone to the 100th inning, and they still wouldn't have lost.

They're not done. They're still not done.

They won Game 6 in the 11th inning on hometown kid David Freese's home run, and now we're off to Game 7 on Friday.

How did it happen? I'm sure I'm missing something, but here goes:

Down to their last strike in the ninth, the Cardinals got a two-run game-tying triple from Freese, off Rangers closer Neftali Feliz. Then, after Josh Hamilton's 10th-inning home run put the Rangers on the verge again, the Cardinals were down to their last strike again -- before Lance Berkman's single tied it again.


The ninth-inning rally began with an Albert Pujols double, his first hit since his historic three-homer Game 3. It was yet another in a series of possible Pujols final at-bats as a Cardinal in Busch Stadium, but it began the rally that helped ensure he'll play at least one more game.

And why not?

It's been a fantastic World Series. Thursday's game wasn't always pretty, with five errors, but it sure was exciting.

And now there will be a Game 7.

Posted on: October 22, 2011 7:15 pm

Hamilton is hurt (sports hernia?), but playing

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Josh Hamilton has played in every game of this postseason. Josh Hamilton is playing center field in Saturday night's Game 3 of the World Series.

Josh Hamilton is hurt.

And yes, it's possible that Josh Hamilton is playing with a sports hernia.

The Rangers say it's impossible to know for sure if he is, for one simple reason: Hamilton hasn't been tested for a hernia yet, and likely won't be until after the World Series.

"We've got a player who says he's able to play," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The doctors say they're OK with him playing."

So why is Hamilton, who at the very least has a severe groin strain, playing in center field? Now that the World Series has moved to the American League city, did manager Ron Washington consider using Hamilton as the designated hitter?

"No, not at all," Washington said. "Hamilton is ready to play. As I keep saying, he's dealing with some nagging injuries, but they're not injuries he can't play [with]. He's out in center field."

Hamilton was 0-for-7 in the first two games of the World Series, but he delivered the game-tying sacrifice fly in the ninth inning of Game 2.

Daniels said Hamilton will undergo tests within a week after the World Series. Even if he is found to have a sports hernia, he should be fine for spring training.

Posted on: July 3, 2011 3:34 pm

Players? Fans? For most part, they agree

For all the complaints about fan voting, how much different would the All-Star lineups look if the players picked them instead?

Not much.

In the National League, the players and fans agreed on the starter at all eight positions. In the American League, they agreed at six of the nine spots (including designated hitter).

The only differences were at shortstop (fans took Derek Jeter, players took Asdrubal Cabrera), third base (fans took Alex Rodriguez, players took Adrian Beltre) and at the third and final outfield spot (fans took Josh Hamilton, players took Jacoby Ellsbury).

A few other All-Star items of note:

-- The late votes helped, with four changes in the final week of voting (all four going in favor of someone the players voted for). Alex Avila (over Russell Martin), Prince Fielder (over Albert Pujols), Jose Reyes (over Troy Tulowitzki) and Matt Kemp (over Matt Holliday) won the fan vote, after trailing with a week to go.

-- As always, there will be changes in the rosters this week. Some are almost guaranteed, as five All-Stars (Cole Hamels, Matt Cain, James Shields, Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez) are scheduled as of now to pitch next Sunday. They'll remain on the All-Star team, but will be ineligible to pitch, and another pitcher will be added to the team in place of each one. You can almost bet that there will be more changes, because of injuries.

-- As of now, here are the other 25 pitchers scheduled to start Sunday: Derek Lowe, Chris Volstad, Jordan Zimmermann, Ramon Ortiz, Mike Pelfrey, Ted Lilly, Edinson Volquez, Jaime Garcia, Brett Myers, Paul Maholm, Randy Wolf, Zach Duke, Tim Stauffer, Matt Harrison, Jon Lester, Brett Cecil, CC Sabathia, Carlos Carrasco, Scott Baker, Dan Haren, Trevor Cahill, Felipe Paulino, Jake Peavy and either Alfredo Simon or Mitch Atkins.

-- For all the talk of how New York dominates the voting, only two New York players have ever been the leading overall vote-getter. Darryl Strawberry of the Mets led in 1986, and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees led in both 2007 and 2008. Only one Red Sox (David Ortiz in 2005) has led, and no Phillie has ever led. Jose Bautista is the first Blue Jay to lead, and the Blue Jays are the 20th different franchise to have an overall vote leader. No team has had more than two, but a Mariner has led in eight different years (five by Ken Griffey Jr., three by Ichiro Suzuki).

-- The 10 franchises that have never had an overall vote-leader: Rockies, Diamondbacks, Pirates, Phillies, Marlins, Astros, Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Rays.

-- The Yankees still ended up with the most All-Stars (barring final-week changes), with six. The Phillies, Braves, Giants and Tigers had four apiece. But what might be more surprising is that 14 of the 30 teams had only one All-Star picked on Sunday.

Posted on: June 5, 2011 8:11 pm

3 to Watch: The Jeter (and Pete Rose) edition

Pete Rose needed 2,370 games to get to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter, 14 hits away from 3,000, has played in 2,350 games.

Pete Rose had just turned 37 when he got to 3,000 hits. Derek Jeter won't turn 37 until June 26.

We spend so much time talking about how old Derek Jeter is, how long he should play shortstop and how long he should lead off, and we forget that technically, he's still ahead of Pete Rose's pace.

"If there's one guy who could scare Pete, it's Derek," Chipper Jones said over the weekend. "If Derek can play five or so more years, he could definitely scare 4,000."

Before the Jeter-haters go crazy, this is not a prediction that Jeter is going to beat the Hit King. Rose was a .324 hitter when he got to 3,000; Jeter is at .260 after going 1-for-5 to get to 2,986 hits on Sunday in Anaheim.

But there are more comparisons than you'd think.

Here's one: Back in 1978, when Rose was chasing 3,000, the Reds considered it very important that he get there at home. Reds manager Sparky Anderson even suggested to reporters that he'd pull Rose from a road game, if necessary.

"I will not allow Pete Rose to do it anywhere but Cincinnati," Anderson said then. "I would not cheat those people. It's a must that he do it at home."

And he did.

Now Jeter and the Yankees come home, for 10 games starting Tuesday against the Red Sox. And now the pressure is on for Jeter to do it at home, too.

Obviously, it's not impossible that he will. Plenty of times in his career, Jeter has had 14 hits in 10 games.

Obviously, it's not a given that he will. Jeter hasn't had 14 hits in any 10-game span this year. And of the 14 players to reach 3,000 since Rose did it, only three -- Lou Brock in 1979, George Brett in 1992 and Paul Molitor in 1996 -- got the final 14 hits in as few as 10 games.

Rose, for what it's worth, needed just eight games to go from 2,986 to 3,000.

And then he needed another 1,192 games, over eight years, to go from 3,000 to 4,256.

When he got to 3,000, Rose said he wanted at least another 631, to break the National League record that then belonged to Stan Musial.

When he gets to 3,000, it's a safe bet that Jeter will not admit that he has any number in mind.

They're not the same. But for now, they are on the same pace.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Cubs are losing so often that no one asks anymore whether they can be part of the National League Central race. Instead, the talk when baseball people meet is about who will be the next Cubs general manager (Brian Cashman? Ned Colletti?). The Reds have lost 13 of their last 18 to fall a season-high 5 1/2 games behind the first-place Cardinals, but the talk there is about how they catch St. Louis. One answer may come in Cubs at Reds, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Great American Ball Park. Edinson Volquez is expected to return then from his two-week exile at Triple-A Louisville, and there's little question the Reds need him to come back and succeed.

2. It's looking like the biggest day of the Rangers season came two weeks ago, when Josh Hamilton and Nelson Cruz came off the disabled list. The Rangers, 10-16 in their last 26 games at that point, are 10-3 in their 13 games since. The Tigers would love to think that the return of Magglio Ordonez can give them a similar boost. Ordonez could come back in Tigers at Rangers, Tuesday night (8:05 ET) at Rangers Ballpark. If nothing else, it's a good spot for Ordonez's return. He has a .377 career average in 44 career games at the ballpark.

3. According to baseball-reference.com, Jeter has faced 1,163 different pitchers in his big-league career. Tops on the list, both in terms of most plate appearances (115) and most hits (31), is Tim Wakefield, the Boston starting pitcher in Red Sox at Yankees, Wednesday night (7:05 ET) at Yankee Stadium. Jeter's career average against Wakefield is just .287, below his career average of .313. Jeter also has 21 career hits against Josh Beckett, who starts Thursday, and 12 against Jon Lester, who starts Tuesday.

Posted on: June 5, 2011 4:38 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:04 pm

3 to Watch: The draft edition

There's no doubting how important the baseball draft is.

The Giants don't win the World Series if they don't pick Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey in three straight first rounds from 2006-08. The Phillies don't become a powerhouse without taking Pat Burrell, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels in the first round between 1992-2002. The Rays are still losers if not for first-rounders like Evan Longoria, B.J. Upton and David Price (and Delmon Young, who brought them Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett).

And the Rangers don't get to the World Series last year if they don't use a 2008 first-round pick on Justin Smoak, who they could turn into Cliff Lee.

Three of the last four American League Most Valuable Players were taken first overall (Alex Rodriguez, Joe Mauer, Josh Hamilton).

The draft is crucial, and for all the talk of how the late rounds matter (yes, Albert Pujols was a 13th-rounder), the fact is that most American-born All-Stars (foreign players aren't draft-eligible) come from the very early picks.

So should you study up for Monday's 2011 version of the draft? Should you make plans to watch the first round on the MLB Network?

No, not unless you're close friends with someone who might get picked.

The truth is that unlike the NBA and NFL drafts, the baseball draft is much more interesting in retrospect than it is the day it happens.

It's great to look back and see how previous drafts went, once we know which picks were great and which were flops. Go ahead and check out C. Trent Rosecrans' rundown of each team's best first-round pick from the last decade, and Matt Snyder's rundown of the worst.

You know the names -- the good ones, anyway.

As for this year's draft, feel free to watch something else on Monday -- maybe Zack Greinke against the Marlins, maybe Matt Kemp vs. Cliff Lee.

But because the draft is important, we'll also give you this draft version of 3 to Watch, as in three things to know, whether you watch or not:

1. Some years, having the top pick is great. It was great the last two years for the Nationals, when Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper were available. It was great the only two times the Mariners had it, because Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez were available. But most drafts have no Strasburg and no A-Rod. And many drafts are like this one, with plenty of debate over the best available player. The Pirates pick first, and there have been conflicting reports on who they'll take. The local paper suggested it would be UCLA right-hander Gerrit Cole, while highly-respected draft-watcher Jim Callis of Baseball America said University of Virginia right-hander Danny Hultzen. It seems almost certain to be one of the two, even though some scouts think Oklahoma high school pitcher Dylan Bundy will be better than either of them. I'll trust Pirates scouting director Greg Smith, who made the call to take Justin Verlander when he was in the same job with the Tigers.

2. Most scouts seem to believe this is a deep draft, which should benefit the Rays, who have a record 12 picks in the first two rounds. As Rays general manager Andrew Friedman said to the New York Times, "The more arrows you have, the more likely you are to hit the bull's-eye." On the other hand, the Rays' first pick isn't until No. 24 in the first round, in a draft where the top six players seem to have separated themselves from the group (Cole, Hultzen, Bundy, UCLA pitcher Trevor Bauer, Rice third baseman Anthony Rendon and Kansas high school outfielder Bubba Starling).

3. Yes, you read that right. Two UCLA pitchers are expected to go within the first six picks. Before you ask, yes, it has happened before. In 2004, Rice produced three of the top eight picks (all pitchers), with Phil Humber going third to the Mets, Jeff Niemann going fourth to the Rays and Wade Townsend going eighth to the Orioles. And Vanderbilt came close in 2007, when David Price went first overall to the Rays, and Casey Weathers went eighth to the Rockies.

Posted on: May 29, 2011 8:59 pm
Edited on: May 29, 2011 9:15 pm

3 to Watch: The first-place Diamondbacks edition

Nobody ever remembers who was in first place on Memorial Day, and for good reason.

The last three World Series champions didn't lead their division on Memorial Day. Of the 30 teams that won division titles over the last five years, only 15 were in first place on Memorial Day -- and two of those were only tied for first.

So first place on Memorial Day means nothing?

Well, it's better than first place at the end of April, and we always make a big deal out of that. It's better than first place one week into the season, and we always seem to think that's significant.

In fact, if the Diamondbacks had begun the season 14-2, we'd be calling them the surprise of baseball.

Instead, they've won 14 of their last 16 -- the first team to win 14 of 16 at any point this year -- and they'll reach Monday's Memorial Day meeting with the Marlins as the first-place team in the National League West.

Don't tell them it doesn't mean anything. Before Sunday, the Diamondbacks hadn't held first place since late in the 2008 season.

Don't tell Zach Duke it doesn't mean anything. As outstanding Diamondbacks PR man Shaun Rachau pointed out on Twitter, this is the first time Duke has been on a first-place team at any time after April 10 -- because he spent his first six seasons with the Pirates.

The Pirates have been something of a surprise themselves this year, but they still haven't held first place by themselves for a single day. And they haven't been in first place on Memorial Day since 1991.

A few more facts about the Diamondbacks, and their Kirk Gibson/Kevin Towers-fueled revival:

-- They're 18-9 in May, best in the National League and second only to the Red Sox in the majors.

-- With two games remaining in the month, the D-Backs still have a chance at the third 20-win month in franchise history. And no, neither one came in the 2001 championship season. Arizona went 20-8 in August 1999, and 20-6 in June 2003.

-- According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Duke became just the second pitcher ever to throw seven shutout innings and hit a home run in his first game for a team. The other was Jason Jennings, who threw a complete-game shutout and hit a home run in his big-league debut for the Rockies.

-- We shouldn't forget that Towers built the bullpen that helped the Padres to their surprise 2010 season (although he wasn't there to enjoy it). Now, Towers has rebuilt a Diamondbacks bullpen that was a major-league laughingstock in 2010. Arizona's bullpen ERA is 3.33, which isn't anywhere close to last year's 5.74.

On to 3 to Watch:

1. The Diamondbacks were one of baseball's best teams in May. Anibal Sanchez was one of baseball's best pitchers, with a 3-0 record and 1.53 ERA for the month. So it's fitting matchup for the final day of May, with Sanchez starting for Florida in Marlins at Diamondbacks, Tuesday night (9:40 ET) at Chase Field. The Diamondbacks starter is Ian Kennedy, who is 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA in May.

2. The last time the Rangers saw the Rays, they were facing David Price in Game 5 of the American League Division Series. That night in St. Petersburg, the Rangers had Cliff Lee on their side, and they won. The Rangers will see Price again, in Rangers at Rays, Wednesday afternoon (1:40 ET) at Tropicana Field. No Lee, but Colby Lewis will start for Texas. One thing in the Rangers' favor: Wednesday is June 1, and June was Josh Hamilton's month last year (.454, 9 home runs, 31 RBI).

3. The Pirates haven't been in first place, but they have been significantly better than they were last year -- especially on the road. Last year, they were just the third team in the last 50 years to fail to win 20 games on the road, joining the 1962 and '63 Mets. The Pirates went 17-64, matching the '63 Mets for the worst road record in the 162-game era. The Pirates are 15-13 on the road this year, heading to New York for a series that includes Pirates at Mets, Wednesday night (7:10 ET) at Citi Field. Their starter Wednesday is Kevin Correia, who leads the majors with six road wins. Zach Duke led the 2010 Pirates in road wins, with three.

Posted on: May 20, 2011 9:00 pm

Hamilton: Happy, pain-free and near return

PHILADELPHIA -- The Rangers believe Josh Hamilton knows when he'll be ready to return from the disabled list.

As of now, that return is planned for Monday night, when the Rangers open a homestand against the White Sox.

"I saw him before he left [on a rehabilitation assignment], and he was very happy and pain-free," manager Ron Washington said Friday. "When he left, I told him to stay healthy. It's the same thing I told him in February. He didn't listen then. I hope he listens now."

Hamilton has been out since April 12, the day he broke a bone in his right arm on a dive into home plate.

The Rangers are also expecting to activate Nelson Cruz on Monday. Cruz has been out since May 4 with a strained right quad.

Cruz had been hoping to return this weekend in Philadelphia, and the Rangers originally said that was possible. But after watching Cruz go 2-for-11 in three games at Double-A Frisco, they decided he needed more time. Cruz was 2-for-23 in his last six games before going on the DL.

"I want the guy, but I want the guy when he can help us," Washington said.
Category: MLB
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