Outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has been out with a sore left knee since the start of camp, says he’s pain free and expects to back on the field later this week. He’ll take it slow, however, and he’s still not projected to be available for the first month of the season.
“I really want to give it a good effort to getting it right or as close to right as possible so we’re not back here three weeks after I start,” Hamilton said.
It’s the hardest thing to do, to pace yourself when you’re feeling good.
Rangers Josh Hamilton
The pain is gone now, Hamilton said, but he’s been here before. He’s hoping a slower, methodical return will prevent another major flare up.
“I’ve had it before where I had no pain and then wake up one morning with pain from doing too much, too fast and back to where I am,” he said. “It’s the hardest thing to do, to pace yourself when you’re feeling good.”
The last time Pedro Ciriaco was batting .500 he was a September callup for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2010. The veteran free agent signee is trying to win a utility infielder job with the Rangers and it shows.
Before Sunday’s game, he led the majors with a .500 batting average (17 for 34) with four stolen bases.
“He’s come in with an idea of trying to make a ball club,” said manager Jeff Banister, who was a Pirates coach when Ciriaco made his debut. “He’s very versatile and can do a lot of different things. When you talk about guys with different skill sets that can help you win he’s certainly proven he can do that so far this spring.”
Ciriaco and Hanser Alberto are the top contenders to earn the utility infielder job.
First time at first
Justin Ruggiano played his first game at first base Saturday in San Antonio. Although he made a throwing error to second (similar to Mitch Moreland’s in Game 5 of the ALDS last October), he was pleased with the experience.
“It’s just one of those plays I have to get used to,” he said. “I’m getting a little more comfortable working around the bag and that’s good because it’s something that takes getting used to.”
Knowing where to go for cut-off throws and relays is becoming easier, he said. He didn’t get any groundballs but was able to work on stretching to make catches. The Rangers want his right-handed bat as an option late in games.