Hamilton excited about his Texas homecoming
CLEVELAND (AP) The best moments of Josh Hamilton's career occurred in Texas with the Rangers. He hopes to add more in his homecoming.
Texas wrapped up its nine-game road trip Wednesday with a 12-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians, setting the stage for Hamilton to play at home for the first time since rejoining the franchise on April 27.
The Rangers host the Boston Red Sox at Globe Life Park on Thursday night.
''I'm looking forward to being back in the area and in the ballpark and playing in front of Rangers fans again,'' said Hamilton, who last played at home for Texas in the 2012 postseason.
''I don't think any nerves will be there, but you never know,'' he added. ''It's just good to be back in the flow of things with my teammates here.''
Hamilton, who made his season debut Monday in Cleveland, went 1 for 11 (.091) in the three-game set. The five-time AL All-Star got his first hit in the series finale, but was thrown out by Indians left fielder Mike Aviles when he attempted to turn it into a double in the seventh inning.
''That was the most fun I've ever had being thrown out at second,'' he said, smiling. ''It was a pretty good day all around.''
Hamilton had a self-reported alcohol and cocaine relapse last offseason, prompting the Angels to trade him - and the final two seasons of his five-year, $125 million contract - to Texas. He also is going through a divorce, but manager Jeff Banister believes his return to the Rangers is a positive for both parties.
''Since he's been here, Josh looks fresh, he looks good, and he's got tremendous energy,'' Banister said. ''He wants to play hard and he's going to be a very nice winning player for us. I really hope our fans will welcome him back with open arms.''
Hamilton started the afternoon by running face-first into the left field wall after catching a liner by Indians leadoff hitter Jason Kipnis. He briefly remained on the ground before throwing the ball back to the infield.
The 2010 AL MVP later made a sliding grab that drew applause from his teammates in the dugout.
''The wall was a lot harder than I thought it would be, so it rung my bell for a couple of seconds there,'' said Hamilton. ''But it was good because I caught the ball. I've know I've only got a few years left, and I plan to enjoy them.''
The Rangers had their season-long winning streak snapped at seven games and finished their road trip with a 7-2 record.
Right-hander Colby Lewis (4-3) allowed a season-high 10 runs in 2 2-3 innings, suffering his first loss since April 25.
Center fielder Leonys Martin and catcher Robinson Chirinos both homered for Texas, but shortstop Elvis Andrus went 0 for 2 to end his 27-game hitting streak at Progressive Field.
Designated hitter Prince Fielder, who leads the AL with a .368 batting average and 38 RBIs, went 1 for 4.
Rangers CF Delino DeShields played second base for the first time in the majors, handling four grounders over the final three innings. ''I always pictured myself as a second baseman and I played it a lot in the minors,'' the rookie said. ''It took a minute for me to adjust to moving in, but I felt pretty comfortable.''
Texas RHP Jon Edwards, who was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock before the game, pitched a scoreless eighth inning. The 27-year-old converted outfielder had 13 saves and a 1.15 ERA with the Express. The Rangers also optioned OF Jake Smolinski to Round Rock for the second time in 14 days.
Rangers: 1B Kyle Blanks (lower back cyst), RHP Neftali Feliz (abscess on his right side), and LHP Ross Detwiler (left shoulder) are on the 15-day disabled list.
Indians: RHP Danny Salazar (cut fingernail) is expected to make his next start Sunday in Seattle, according to manager Terry Francona.
Rangers: RHP Nick Martinez will pitch the opener of a four-game series Thursday against Boston. He is 4-0 in nine starts with a 1.96 ERA, which ranks second in the AL.
Indians: RHP Corey Kluber makes his initial start in Seattle as Cleveland begins a four-game set Thursday. The AL Cy Young winner is winless in five road appearances.