Texas Rangers

Now enshrined in Rangers Hall of Fame, this question will always be asked about Hamilton

Hamilton misses playing, but not the schedule

Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Josh Hamilton said he misses playing baseball two years after his retirement, but not the travel and time away from his family.
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Texas Rangers Hall of Famer Josh Hamilton said he misses playing baseball two years after his retirement, but not the travel and time away from his family.

Good news for Ariel Jurado fans, which after Saturday might be only Jurado and his friends and family: He will start again on his regular turn.

The right-hander allowed eight runs in two innings as the Texas Rangers lost a third straight game to the Minnesota Twins, this time 12-7, but manager Chris Woodward said beforehand that Jurado would stay in the rotation even if he was roughed up.

He was, though an error he committed allowed all six of the Twins’ first-inning runs to be unearned. He couldn’t pick himself up.

The Rangers tried to get back into it, closing as close as two runs on two occasions. Danny Santana hit home runs in the first and second innings, becoming the fourth player in club history to accomplish that feat, and Shin-Soo Choo collected three of the Rangers’ 10 hits.

“Overall, we didn’t play well today,” Woodward said. “We didn’t do anything to win the game today.”

Oh, yeah: The benches cleared after the third out of the top of the eighth as Rangers right-hander Shawn Kelley and Twins outfielder Marwin Gonzalez exchanged words. No one was ejected, and the whole thing seemed very avoidable.

Each was muttering during the play, though not to the other.

“It was basically two frustrated guys. The weren’t talking to each other,” Woodward said. “It was nothing. There was no beef.”

The highlight of the day, though, came on the field as Josh Hamilton and former Arlington Mayor Richard Greene were inducted into the Rangers Hall of Fame.

Here’s some Rangers Reaction from Saturday.

How is Josh?

Considering all Hamilton has gone through while dealing with addiction and alcoholism, it’s only natural to wonder how he is doing.

It might have been natural to ask that as he delivered his long, disjointed speech after being inducted into the Rangers Hall.

At the very least, it’s safe to say he didn’t rehearse it very many times. He clearly did spend time preparing his remarks, so he deserves some credit for that.

He was much more composed in the media room after the ceremony.

Physically, he looks like a defensive end. Ranch work has kept him in shape, if not bulked him up some.

But in wondering if he’s still walking the straight and narrow, two things stood out:

He was surrounded by family and spoke of his devotion to his daughters.

He is very clearly still in regular consultation with his Bible, which is what initially helped get him on the road to sobriety.

That will have to do until he is spotted again, and it might be a while.

He said that he is enjoying being a private citizen and the quiet he can find. He said that he essentially disappeared after having knee surgery in 2017, and that’s the plan after his Saturday in the spotlight.

“Like a yeti,” he said.

Highest praise

Twins manager Rocco Baldelli knows Hamilton as well as any other former MLB player, as they spent time together in the Tampa Bay Rays system.

Writers asked Baldelli his thoughts on Hamilton ahead of being inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame, and he lavished praise on the 2010 American League MVP.

“He’s the single most talented baseball player I’ve ever been around,” Baldelli said. “I have no issue saying that. I think anyone who got a chance to see him at 18, 19, 20 years old would say that.

“I had a great friendship with him and spent a lot of time with his family and with him. I had a chance to watch him for a lot of his career. It was pretty amazing, getting a chance to see him do his thing. He was 6-foot-4, 230, could play center, could play right. He could really run. Threw 100 miles an hour off the mound. And he hit balls as far as a human being could hit them.

“It wasn’t just what he did, it was how he did it. He was a very graceful athlete. It was actually really fun to watch. And even for other good players on the field, I think every single person could look at him and appreciate what they were seeing, because it was beyond special.

“And he was a great person in addition to all that. I think getting a chance to watch him do what he did, after having dealt with the issues that he did, it was very special for a lot of people to see that and I think he did good work. He came back and had a great career, and I hope he’s well.”

Baldelli didn’t stop there, saying that he most enjoyed watching Hamilton throw from the outfield and that he was in awe of the size of bat Hamilton swung.

“If you drew up a prototype superhero-type baseball player, that’s what he was,” Baldelli said. “He was a well above-average runner. He was fast. He had great instincts in the field. The day he signed, he probably had the best arm in baseball. If you put him on the mound, he’d probably throw 100 miles an hour. He probably did in high school.

“You don’t see people like this. No one exists like this. We have some incredible players here that have ability that’s just through the roof. Very few guys in the history of baseball, if any, could do the things that Josh Hamilton could do.

“It was a known thing. If you had a chance to see it, you would believe it. If you didn’t have a chance to personally witness it and watch it over a period of time, it’s easy to say, ‘Eh, I don’t know about that.’ Ask anyone that’s been around him, and they will reaffirm anything that we’ll talk about when we talk about this guy.”

Burke, Palumbo booked

The Rangers made official Saturday evening what Woodward first teased Friday: Brock Burke and Joe Palumbo will start for the Rangers on Tuesday in their doubleheader against the Angels.

Both are rookies. Both are left-handers. Both will have to face Mike Trout.

The Rangers haven’t determined which order they will pitch, but pitch they will after throwing bullpen sessions without incident Saturday at Triple A Nashville.

Burke became a candidate to start after the Rangers optioned right-hander Pedro Payano following his start Thursday. Woodward said that the Rangers, in the middle of a stretch of 18 games in 17 days, did not want to use a bullpen day for one of the games.

Burke will be making his MLB debut after a limited number of innings this season because of a blister and shoulder fatigue. He has maxed out at six innings and will likely be kept on a tight leash.

Palumbo is coming off a start Thursday in which he tossed six no-hit innings. It was his third start since deadline with ankle injury, which prevented him from joining the rotation earlier this month.

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After 11 seasons covering the Rangers for the Star-Telegram, Jeff Wilson knows that baseball is a 24/7/365 business and there is far more to baseball than just the 162 games each season. There’s also more to Jeff -- like a family and impressive arsenals of Titleist hats and adidas shoes -- but sometimes it’s hard to tell.
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