Tag: Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton, Rangers Agree to Minor League Contract: Latest Details, Reaction

Veteran outfielder Josh Hamilton reached an agreement Tuesday to re-sign with the Texas Rangers

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports first reported the new deal and noted the contract includes an option for Hamilton to request his release if he’s not on the April 1 roster. Heyman also stated the new pact is for the minimum MLB salary ($535,000), if he makes the team.

Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram confirmed the minor league deal.

Hamilton said he will try to play first base, per TR Sullivan of MLB.com. Hamilton also told reporters said he has been cleared to resume all baseball activities.

The 35-year-old slugger has failed to make an impact in recent years due to a combination of nagging injuries and off-field issues. He missed the entire 2016 season with the Rangers after undergoing surgery, his third procedure in a 10-month span, to reconstruct the ACL in his left knee.

In 2015, Bill Madden and Michael O’Keeffe of the New York Daily News reported Hamilton met with MLB officials after suffering a cocaine and alcohol relapse. His highly publicized struggle with addiction to those substances has caused several setbacks throughout his career.

The North Carolina native’s on-field talent is undeniable, though. He’s a five-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award three times during his prime with the Rangers.

Hamilton’s best year came in 2010 when he was named American League MVP. He won the batting title with a .359 average to go with 32 home runs, 100 RBIs and 95 runs scored. He also stole eight bases and finished with a 1.044 OPS.

Now, the question is whether he can still perform at that level. His last full season came with the Los Angeles Angels in 2013, and his numbers were well off from his peak. He posted a .250/.307/.432 line with 21 homers in 151 games.

Last July, Hamilton told Sullivan he expected to be at full strength by spring training, and he expressed confidence in his ability.

“One-hundred percent,” Hamilton said. “I feel confident when I’m healthy, and really healthy, I’m as good as anybody in the game.”

Agreeing to a one-year deal for the minimum will force Hamilton to prove himself, though. His most likely path to playing time would come at DH for the Rangers, but at the outset, he’ll probably battle Ryan Rua and Delino DeShields for a bench spot throughout the spring.

Ultimately, it’s a low-risk move for the Rangers based on the salary and Hamilton’s previous track record of success. He could prove to be a savvy signing, if he stays healthy.

The first major hurdle for the 1999 first overall pick will be making it through spring training without any injury setbacks. If that happens, there’s a good chance he’ll earn a spot on the Opening Day roster.


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Playing Fact or Fiction with All of MLB’s Hottest Week 21 Buzz and Rumors

A month ago, it looked like the defending World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals, were nothing more than an afterthought in the playoff picture. As we prepare to head into the final month of baseball’s regular season, though, the Royals sit in the thick of the AL playoff race.

But Kansas City isn’t the only team making noise. Has an untimely injury knocked a contender out of the running? Does a slugger’s desire to stay with his current team mean that he will?

We’ll hit on all that and more in this week’s edition of Fact or Fiction. 

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Josh Hamilton Placed on Release Waivers by Rangers: Latest Details and Reaction

The Texas Rangers have cut ties with Josh Hamilton after an injury-plagued season, although his career with the club might not be over.

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News explained the situation:

Hamilton didn’t play a single major league game in 2016, beginning the year on the disabled list before undergoing season-ending knee surgery in May. The Rangers gave him a chance to rehab with them on the 60-day DL, but the latest move allows them to clear a roster space while also leaving open the chance to re-sign the outfielder in 2017.

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, this move was not a surprise for anyone involved:

It remains to be seen if Hamilton will get a new contract over the winter, but Texas will at least keep him in mind.

“We plan to monitor Josh’s progress as he continues his rehab process and is medically cleared this winter,” general manager Jon Daniels said, per ESPN.com. “Given the rules in place, releasing him before the end of this month allows us to keep the door open to extending the relationship in the future.”

The 35-year-old outfielder went to five All-Star Games with the Rangers from 2008-12 before signing a massive five-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels. After struggling through two seasons with the Angels, he was traded back to Texas where he hit .253 with eight home runs and 25 RBI in 50 games in 2015.

If the Rangers re-sign him for next year, they will likely hope he can regain some of the power that made him the 2010 American League MVP.

As Greg Tepper of Fox Sports Southwest noted, the financial responsibility still lies with the Angels:

According to Baseball-Reference.com, Los Angeles will also pay Hamilton $26.41 million in 2017.


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Josh Hamilton Injury Update: Rangers OF to Undergo Knee Surgery, Out for Season

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton will undergo another knee surgery on June 8 and miss the remainder of the 2016 season, per Jared Sandler of 105.3 The Fan in Dallas and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The former MVP hasn’t played for the Rangers in 2016 after he experienced left knee soreness in February and started the year on the disabled list.

Hamilton had what MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan called “cleanup” surgery in September, and he returned to the field and played through the 2015 playoffs. Then, the Dallas Morning NewsEvan Grant reported in November that Hamilton had a second surgery on the same knee after the season.

The 35-year-old looked to be set to return after the team sent him on a minor league rehab assignment in late April. However, the Rangers pulled him from the assignment May 5.

Injuries have dogged Hamilton throughout his career. Only once in nine years has he appeared in more than 150 games, and he played just 139 total games between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Wilson noted the team doesn’t see Monday’s news as a major setback:

The offseason addition of Ian Desmond and call-up of Nomar Mazara have stabilized Texas’ outfield in Hamilton’s absence, and the team is only 1.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners in the American League West.

Even with Shin-Soo Choo and Drew Stubbs heading to the DL, per Wilson, the Rangers have enough depth to cope without Hamilton this year, especially if they bring Joey Gallo back up to the majors.

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Josh Hamilton Injury: Updates on Rangers OF’s Knee and Return

With the Texas Rangers less than one month away from reporting to spring training, outfielder Josh Hamilton is still dealing with lingering knee problems. 

According to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Hamilton said at an awards dinner Friday night that the left knee he had surgery on in October is still “bothersome” even though he was able to swing a bat after receiving a cortisone shot.   

Continue for updates. 

Hamilton Optimistic About 2016

Saturday, Jan. 23

In November, per Stefan Stevenson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels announced Hamilton required a second surgery on his left knee to clean up lingering problems after he suffered a torn meniscus in September. 

While not exactly bragging about his health at this moment, Hamilton did tell Wilson he’s slowly starting to feel better. 

“I’ve just been fighting back and forth with it, just pushing through the rehab,” he said. “He put some cortisone in there, and I tell you what, man, to wake up this morning and put my shoe on without any pain was a wonderful thing. Everything else feels good.”

Wilson added that Hamilton anticipates going through a full spring training this year after missing it last year with the Los Angeles Angels following shoulder surgery

Injuries have defined Hamilton’s career, even when he won an MVP award in 2010. He’s reached the 140-game barrier only three times in nine seasons and has played a total of 139 games since 2014. 

The Rangers have amassed plenty of outfield depth, with Joey Gallo able to play left field and platoon outfielder Justin Ruggiano signed in the offseason, so they don’t have to depend on Hamilton’s bat to succeed.

A healthy Hamilton can be a difference-maker with 30-homer potential, but at 34 years old and with his long injury history, the Rangers would be happy if he was able to play adequately over the course of a full season. 

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Josh Hamilton One Big October Moment Away from Turning Confidence, Career Around

Josh Hamilton avoided history on Sunday, and he’ll sleep better because of it.

With a base hit in the fifth inning of the Texas Rangers‘ 5-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 3 of the American League Division Series, Hamilton snapped a 31-at-bat postseason hitless streak that dated back to 2011.

Before Sunday’s knock, Hamilton was threatening the all-time record for playoff futility, set by the Seattle Mariners‘ Dan Wilson, who came up empty in 42 consecutive postseason at-bats between 1995 and 2000, as MLB.com’s Jason Beck noted:

Hamilton added another hit in the seventh, part of a rally that plated the Rangers’ only run.

In the end, Texas, which won the first two games of this ALDS north of the border, missed a chance to step on the favored Blue Jays’ throats. Now, Monday’s Game 4the final game of the series that will be played in Arlingtonbecomes huge for the Rangers.

In a different way, it’s huge for Hamilton, who is still struggling to resurrect his career in the place where it all began. He could go a long way toward doing exactly that with one signature playoff moment.

Backing up a bit: Yes, technically Hamilton made his big league debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2007, but his best years came in a Rangers uniform. 

Texas is where he made five straight All-Star appearances, won an American League MVP Award in 2010 and powered the Rangers to two consecutive World Series appearances.

Hamilton parlayed his Lone Star State output into a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels prior to the 2013 season. And he tossed a match on the bridge as he made his exit, dubbing Arlington “not a true baseball town,” per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

So a Rangers reunion seemed borderline absurd, especially as Hamilton’s production dipped in 2013 and cratered in 2014, when the now 34-year-old missed nearly half of the season to injury and went hitless in a division series defeat against the Kansas City Royals.

In early February, Hamilton underwent shoulder surgery. Then, a few weeks later, he admitted he’d “suffered a relapse in his battle with substance abuse,” as Mike DiGiovanna and Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times put it. 

Two months later, Texas reacquired its wayward son in a surprising deal that mostly involved cash (flowing from L.A. to Texas) and a lot of hastily mended fences.

Hamilton made his Rangers return on May 25, and on May 29, he teased the faithful with a two-home run game. Overall, however, he posted a sluggish .253/.291/.441 slash line and looked more like a faded has-been than a viable reclamation project.

Meanwhile, the Rangers, who were sitting under .500 at the trade deadline, went out and acquired ace Cole Hamels and streaked to an AL West title behind a resurgent veteran core that includes comeback kids Prince Fielder, Mitch Moreland and Shin-Soo Choo.

Hamilton described his own poignant version of the club’s clinch to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal:

The day after we won, or clinched the division, [we] had the ginger-ale celebration on the field [and] came in. And when you come in the clubhouse, you take a left you go to the clubhouse, you take a right you go to the training room. And I took a right and went towards the training room. And Jamie Reed, the longtime trainer who’s been with me for a long, long time, he just gave me a hug and told me, ‘Good job.’ … And at that moment I started crying, because it kind of hit me, everything that has transpired from February until this point.

Really, this Texas teamwhich was hosed by injuries in 2014 and lost ace Yu Darvish to Tommy John surgery in the springis defined by nothing if not rebirth.

Why not Hamilton? Why not now, on baseball’s brightest stage?

Well, for starters, there’s reason to question his presence in the Rangers’ starting lineup, as NBC Sports’ Matthew Pouliot did prior to Game 3:

At this point, it’s worth wondering whether the Rangers should be playing Hamilton at all. He hit two homers in an 11-10 loss to the Angels last Saturday, but those were his only two homers since he came off the DL when rosters expanded last month. He’s 7-for-38 (.184) with one additional extra-base hit, four RBI and a 16/1 K/BB ratio during that span.

The Rangers also realize that Hamilton is not their best defensive left fielder, which is why he’s typically pulled in favor of Will Venable when the team has a lead.

Hamilton didn’t magically undo any of that with his two hits on Sunday. Imagine, though, he comes up in a big spot in Game 4, or Game 5 if necessary.

And let’s say he gets a fastball, the pitch against which he broke his postseason hitless streak and that he’s hit better than any other this year, per FanGraphs.

Finally, let’s really extend the hypothetical and pretend his hit leaves the yard at a pivotal juncture, or drives in a go-ahead run. Heck, why not take it all the way and suggest a walk-off knock that sends Texas to the championship series?

As Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News opined, “Especially without [injured third baseman Adrian] Beltre, you need all the potential for power you can get, especially against the Jays. Hamilton can change a game with one swing.”

What would that do for the troubled veteran’s confidence? Would it propel him toward the comeback Texas dreamed of when it took a flier and brought Hamilton back? Might it even launch the Rangers on a deep October run?

The answers will come starting Monday, when he’ll have a chance to make the good kind of history.

For now, the proposition seems as tantalizing, far-fetched and ultimately possible as anything else in Hamilton’s rocky, still-unfinished career.


All statistics current as of Oct. 11 and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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MLB Playoff Predictions: Key Injuries Facing Playoff Contenders

The injury bug often rears its mighty head at the most inopportune times in Major League Baseball. The optimism of a team can quickly disappear when a key player goes down. And when the injury warrants a lengthy recovering timesometimesthat optimism is crushed completely.

With the 2015 MLB playoffs right around the corner, postseason contenders will have their fingers crossed that injuries will be avoided from here on out.

All teams have had to deal with injuries this season—some worse than others. Many of those teams were able to overcome their misfortunes to this point, while others face recent injuries without much time to recover.

When it comes to playoff successes, the healthier team seems to have the better shot at long-term success. That’s not always the case, but a key injury down the stretch can sometimes be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

The slides ahead will focus on the key injuries that each playoff contender is currently facing this season and whether they can overcome said injuries in postseason competition. That’s not to say that every injury will be listed for each team, but key players will be noted as best as possible.

Teams that are listed would make the playoffs if the season ended as of Friday night.

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Josh Hamilton Injury: Updates on Rangers LF’s Recovery From Knee Surgery

The Texas Rangers‘ depth took a considerable hit as Josh Hamilton underwent knee surgery to repair a “slight tear” in his meniscus on Sept. 11, according to Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.  

Continue for updates.

Rangers Remain Hopeful for Hamilton Return This Season

Thursday, Sept. 10

Although there is always concern when a player has their knee operated on, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported the Rangers aren’t ruling out the possibility of Hamilton playing again in 2015.

There is still nearly a month remaining in the regular season. With the Rangers currently holding on to the American League‘s second wild-card spot, Hamilton may have even more time to heal up as Texas has a great chance to make the playoffs.

The surgery doesn’t come as a huge surprise since the 34-year-old slugger recently returned from a stint on the disabled list due to left knee soreness. He has since been wearing a brace and has been used primarily as a pinch hitter rather than a starter.

Per Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, as recently as last week, Hamilton wasn’t ready to throw in the towel on playing a big role for the club this season: “I haven’t given up on it. There is a month left. I know I can make an impact as a pinch hitter, but I think I can make more of an impact with four at-bats a game. The concept of being a pinch hitter only is nice, but I’m going to keep working to be a full-time guy.”

Since the Rangers reacquired Hamilton in a trade with the Los Angeles Angels in late April, he has contributed to the tune of a .257 batting average, six home runs and 21 RBI.

That production is a far cry from the player who made five straight All-Star appearances and won the 2010 AL MVP Award with the Rangers, but he is still a dangerous hitter when he is healthy.

Hamilton has an uphill climb when it comes to returning despite the Rangers’ optimism. But with the likes of Prince Fielder, Adrian Beltre, Shin-Soo Choo and others in the lineup, they have enough offensive depth to be a threat in the AL without him.


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Josh Hamilton Injury: Updates on Rangers Star’s Knee and Return

Texas Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton hasn’t been able to work his way into a consistent rhythm during the 2015 season because of a string of injuries, and left knee inflammation will hinder him this time around, as it landed him on the 15-day disabled list on Aug. 20.

Continue for updates. 

Hamilton DL-Bound with Knee Issue

Thursday, Aug. 20

Rangers Vice President of Communications John Blake announced the team had called up Will Venable to take Hamilton’s spot on the roster.

According to MLB.com‘s T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers scratched Hamilton from an Aug. 12 showdown with the Minnesota Twins because of left knee soreness. It was just the third game he had missed since July 5. 

However, he was plagued by a hamstring injury earlier in the season that forced him to miss all but one game in June.    

And although he remained healthy in July, Hamilton struggled mightily at the plate, batting .227 with two home runs and nine RBI during that 20-game stretch. An 0-for-9 stretch that spanned July 11-17 and a 2-for-14 showing between July 20-22 represented the low points of his season at the plate. 

Through 38 appearances, the 2010 AL MVP is batting .254 with six home runs and 21 RBI. 

A year removed from appearing in just 89 games because of a variety of injuriesincluding shoulder, chest and rib ailments—Hamilton hasn’t been able to catch breaks conducive to providing efficient offerings at the plate.

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Josh Hamilton Injury: Updates on Rangers Star’s Knee and Return

Josh Hamilton‘s return to the Texas Rangers has been up and down, thanks in large part to injuries that keep preventing the former American League MVP from finding a groove. That’s the case once again as he’s dealing with knee soreness that has caused him to miss multiple games.

Continue for updates. 

Hamilton Will Undergo MRI; Comments on Status

Thursday, Aug. 13

Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News confirmed Hamilton would undergo testing and provided his response when asked if he was concerned about the injury: “I’m not sure. This feels a little more uncomfortable than usual. I’m not sure if it’s worse.”

Ryan Strausborger has replaced Hamilton in the lineup, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com.

Hamilton did hit well when he was able to play for Texas, blasting five extra-base hits in his first 33 at-bats, but he was never healthy enough to remain in the lineup consistently. His longest stretch of consecutive games played was seven from May 25-31. 

Once June started, he missed virtually the entire month before returning on the final day. Even in the limited sample size, it’s good to see that the 34-year-old is still capable of producing with the bat. 

“I feel like every time I’m close to where I want to be, something else comes up,” said Hamilton, per Grant, who has dealt with a sore left hamstring, a sore left groin and now the sore knee. “And that’s tremendously frustrating.”

He has remained in the lineup throughout the month of July and early August. On the season, he is batting .252 with five home runs and 19 RBI.

The problem for Hamilton remains playing enough to make it count. This will be the second straight year in which Hamilton is going to play fewer than 100 games, appearing in just 89 last year with the Los Angeles Angels. 

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