Josh Hamilton is in the starting lineup Thursday for the Texas Rangers even though he said he is “sick as a dog.” But it would take more than that to keep him from playing at Globe Life Park as a member of the home team since 2012.
Hamilton, who has one hit in his first 11 at-bats, said that he got a nice feeling as he made a familiar drive to the ballpark and believes his illness will actually help calm the nerves he will feel as the takes the field.
“Just driving in today and stopping and talking to fans, they’re excited, the ones I talked to anyway,” he said. “I’m very excited, I’m excited about the team and the possibilities we have as a team and the fun I had just those three days in Cleveland. I can’t imagine having that fun with the team on the road like that and not coming home and having fun. So, I’m excited about being here.”
Many are curious to know how some Rangers fans will react to a superstar they once cheered wildly but viciously turned against when he left for the Los Angeles Angels in December 2012.
He received harsh treatment in his first trip as a visiting player in April 2013. In Cleveland, fans were fairly benign and Hamilton said that Indians players told him they were glad he was back.
Hamilton seemed to take exception to two questions: One about if he thinks he can regain his old form and another about how close he is to where he needs to be in order to be a productive player.
“There’s only one way to find out, that’s to go out there and play,” Hamilton said. “What kind of player is not going to have confidence that he can do what he’s always done. When that happens, you need to retire.
“I’ve had more fun and more fun each time. Having fun is me getting close to where I need to be.”
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760