January 23, 2012

Josh Hamilton not in big rush for new contract

The Texas Rangers' slugger will report to spring training a week early.

No offense to David Murphy, Michael Kirkman and Mike Maddux, but Josh Hamilton was the star attraction Monday night at a Rangers Winter Caravan stop.

He was also the No. 1 reason why Fort Worth resident Rachel Robledo, brother Rick and three others set up camp at 5:30 Sunday night at the Academy Sports and Outdoors off North Tarrant Parkway to make sure they were first in line some 25 hours later.

Rachel, from the pole position, was tempted to suggest to the All-Star outfielder that he hurry up and get a contract extension signed so that his future with the Rangers can be secured.

"I'll try, if I'm not too star-struck," she said.

Rangers assistant general manager Thad Levine said that an extension for Hamilton, who can be a free agent after this season, has become a priority now that Yu Darvish is signed.

Conversations have continued with agent Mike Moye ahead of Hamilton's self-imposed spring training deadline to get a deal done. Hamilton, though, continues to focus on preparing for 2012 and spending time with his family rather than occupy himself with contractual matters.

"It's important to have a clear mind and focus on the team," Hamilton said. "Honestly, I don't think about it."

Hamilton said that he will be at spring training in Surprise, Ariz., about a week before he is required to report. If the sides haven't found common ground by then, it won't mean that the door is closed on his return for 2013.

"We've already told the Rangers if it doesn't happen before the season, they're the first ones we go to after the season," Hamilton said.

Two pitchers added

The Rangers stocked up on relief pitching by signing left-hander Mitch Stetter and right-hander Sean Green to minor-league contracts with invitations to spring training.

Both pitchers were on Milwaukee's Opening Day roster in 2011, but didn't last long. Stetter was felled by a hip injury, and Green landed at Triple A Nashville after struggling early.

The Rangers need a lefty in the bullpen. Stetter has held left-handed hitters to a .194 average in his career. The Rangers like the way that Koji Uehara retires lefties, but a source said that they have discussed trading the righty recently.

Uehara, though, has a six-team limited no-trade clause.


Josh Hamilton said that the Rangers could interview candidates for a new accountability partner this week. His father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, resigned from the position last week after taking it 10 days earlier.

Cuban defector Gerardo Concepcion, an 18-year-old lefty, worked out for the Rangers at their facility in the Dominican Republic. Team president Nolan Ryan and general manager Jon Daniels, on the club's annual trip to the Dominican, watched the workout.

The Rangers will head to arbitration hearings with Elvis Andrus on Feb. 9, Mike Napoli on Feb. 15 and Nelson Cruz on Feb. 17 if they can't agree to 2012 contracts. The hearings would be in Tampa, Fla.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

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