Commissioner Rob Manfred, in his fourth month on the job since taking over for Bud Selig, was at Minute Maid Park on Wednesday afternoon to talk to both the Rangers and Astros before the game.
Manfred said he was happy with the way Josh Hamilton was traded from the Los Angeles Angels to the Rangers. The details of the deal, which included the Angels paying over $80 million of Hamilton’s remaining contract and the Rangers picking up the rest ($6 million), had to be vetted by the league and the Major League Baseball Players Association.
“I’m positive about the result that was achieved. Obviously, both clubs reached the conclusion that the trade was good for them,” Manfred said. “I think the players association and labor relationships group in New York worked very hard to try to accommodate the desires of the clubs and achieve an outcome that was acceptable for everyone.”
Hamilton was traded to Texas last week and has been working out in extended spring training in Surprise, Ariz. He had shoulder surgery in February and did not participate in spring training with the Angels.
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Hamilton played five innings in left field Wednesday, going 0 for 4 with a walk, and is hitless in his two games in Arizona. He’s scheduled to take live batting practice Thursday against left-hander Matt Harrison in Surprise. The Rangers expect Hamilton to begin playing with Triple A Round Rock by early next week before he joins the big league club.
Mitch Moreland hit in the cages Wednesday afternoon and says he feels great. Moreland has been on the disabled list since having surgery to remove a loose bone in his left elbow last week. He hopes to take live batting practice Thursday or Friday, and start a short medical rehabilitation assignment in the minors on Saturday.
“That is if everything goes as planned,” he said. “It felt good. It felt normal.”
Center fielder Leonys Martin played catch and ran the bases before Wednesday’s game but his bruised left wrist is still swollen and swinging the bat is still painful. Martin hopes to return full-time this weekend in Tampa Bay. Rangers manager Jeff Banister said Martin could be used as a pinch-runner or defensive replacement late in a game.
“We’re going to give him an opportunity to continue to feel better,” Banister said before Wednesday’s game. “The swinging of the bat, as we sit right now, probably wouldn’t get a whole lot out of him, but that doesn’t mean through treatment in five hours from now it doesn’t at least feel good enough to put an at-bat together.”
Right-hander Phil Klein has been moved to the rotation at Triple A Round Rock and right-hander Luke Jackson has been moved to the bullpen. Klein has a 2.31 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 112/3 innings in five appearances. Jackson has a 5.64 ERA in five starts.
“I believe that Phil Klein being in the rotation is going to help the development of Phil Klein,” Banister said. “Big strong right-hander that has a complement of pitches. I believe that he’ll be in the rotation for a while now. And Luke Jackson to the bullpen, we’re going to see, maybe this is his road also.”
“This league punches back at you, it makes adjustments to you. It’s the ability to make your own adjustments. His experience in that aspect of it, I don’t know where he had to make that punch back in the minor leagues so he’s having to learn to do that at the major league level.” — Rangers manager Jeff Banister on struggling second baseman Rougned Odor, 21, who only played 62 games at Double A before being called up in 2014