video

Josh Hamilton has earned $61 million in his eight-year career. He has made $34 million the past two years and is scheduled to earn more than $90 million over the next three seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

But all the money in the world isn't going to matter if he can't maintain his sobriety. He'll tell you addiction nearly killed him once, and that will continue to be a major concern if he can't control himself.

That's Hamilton's reality.

Hamilton, who reportedly suffered a relapse involving the use of cocaine and alcohol in the offseason, met with MLB officials in New York last week to discuss the situation.

An arbitrator reportedly will decide this week whether Hamilton should enter rehabilitation after MLB and its players' association couldn't reach an agreement. If he's in rehab, he would be paid his full salary for 30 days and half his salary for the next 30 days. If he's suspended, he would not be paid.

On Thursday, the Major League Baseball Players Association came to Hamilton's defense, issuing a statement critical of news leaks that it calls "cowardly" and intended to hurt Hamilton "personally and professionally."

Hamilton has had multiple relapses over the years. There's reportedly a debate within MLB whether Hamilton should be classified as a fourth-time offender, a source told the Los Angeles Times, which could increase a suspension from 50 to 75 games up to at least one full season.


(Read full post)


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers ace Yu Darvish left his spring training debut with tightness in his right triceps after pitching a scoreless inning in Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

Darvish, who ended last season on the DL with elbow inflammation, felt tightness warming up in the bullpen. He gave up a single before retiring the next three batters, then left the game for what the Rangers called "precautionary reasons." He will be evaluated again Friday.

Royals prospect Cheslor Cuthbert hit a two-run single off Alec Asher with two outs in the ninth inning to give Kansas City a come-from-behind victory.

Ryan Rua hit a two-run triple, and Robinson Chirinos and Carlos Peguero also drove in runs for the Rangers. Brett Eibner went deep for the Royals.


(Read full post)


Yu Darvish downplays departure

March, 5, 2015
Mar 5
3:22
PM CT

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers ace Yu Darvish left his spring training debut with tightness in his right triceps Thursday after pitching a scoreless first inning against Kansas City.

Darvish gave up a leadoff single to Alcides Escobar before retiring the next three batters he faced. He threw 10 of 12 pitches for strikes before leaving for precautionary reasons.

"I don't really think it's anything to worry about," Darvish said through a translator. "I commanded my pitches. I didn't throw hard. I worked on my location."

A Rangers spokesman said Darvish would be re-evaluated Friday.

"We don't want to risk anything at this point," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "You want your guys to be completely honest with you with how they're feeling."

An All-Star each of his first three seasons, Darvish was 10-7 with a 3.06 ERA last year before missing most of the final two months with elbow inflammation. He also missed the end of spring training and the start of last season with neck stiffness.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.


(Read full post)


Ex-batting champ Alex Johnson dies

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
8:50
PM CT

DETROIT -- Alex Johnson, who played 13 years in the majors and won the AL batting title with the then-California Angels in 1970, has died. He was 72.

Alex Johnson Jr. said Wednesday that his father died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer.

The elder Johnson played for eight teams in a career that began in 1964 with Philadelphia, batting .288 with 78 homers and 525 RBIs. The left fielder was an All-Star for the Angels in 1970, and his final season was in 1976 with his hometown Detroit Tigers.

Johnson spent just two seasons with the Angels, but became the only batting champion in the 55-year-old franchise's history when he hit .329 in 1970. Johnson beat out Carl Yastrzemski for the crown on the final day of the season, going 2 for 3 and inching .0003 percentage points ahead of the Boston star.

Johnson was suspended several times by the Angels during his second season with the club in 1971, feuding with teammates before leaving Orange County.

He also played for the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

Johnson's brother, Ron, was a running back for the New York Giants.

Alex Johnson Jr. recalled watching games with his father.

"He would critique from a technical standpoint," the younger Johnson said. "A lot of the managers and coaches today he would know and say, `I played with this guy."

Funeral services are scheduled Friday at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit.


(Read full post)


SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Eric Hosmer joined Royals newcomers Kendrys Morales and Alex Rios in hitting consecutive first-inning homers, and AL champion Kansas City routed the Texas Rangers 13-2 on Wednesday in the spring training opener for both teams.

Hosmer hit a three-run shot off Rangers starter Colby Lewis that landed on the grassy berm beyond the centerfield fence. Morales followed with a shot to right field and Rios went deep to left, giving Kansas City a 6-0 lead before Lewis had recorded an out.

Lewis retired the next three batters after the homer binge, but the veteran still needed 36 pitches to get through his only inning against the Rangers' campus co-tenants.

Fellow starter Yovani Gallardo fared little better, allowing four runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings in his Texas debut.


(Read full post)


Russell Wilson to join Rangers

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
2:12
PM CT
Wilson
AP Photo/Jim CowsertSeahawks quarterback Russell Wilson will join the Rangers for a second spring training. He is not expected to participate in any exhibition games.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Two-time Super Bowl quarterback Russell Wilson is set for his second appearance at spring training with the Texas Rangers.

The Seattle Seahawks quarterback is scheduled to visit the Arizona camp March 28. Like he did in a visit last spring, Wilson is expected to go through a morning workout with the Rangers, address minor leaguers and be in uniform for an exhibition game. It is unlikely that he will play in the game against the San Diego Padres.

Texas selected Wilson in the Triple-A portion of baseball's December draft in 2013. The Rangers felt he could have an impact on their young players.

Wilson was a minor league infielder in the Colorado Rockies organization in 2010 and 2011 before going back to college to play football and then getting drafted.


(Read full post)


Rangers agree to terms with six players

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
12:56
PM CT
The Texas Rangers announced Wednesday that the club has agreed to terms with six players on one-year contracts for the 2015 season. The team has also renewed the contract of right-handed pitcher Shawn Tolleson. No further terms were disclosed.

The players who agreed to terms are pitchers Luke Jackson, Phil Klein, Nick Martinez, Roman Mendez and Tanner Scheppers, along with catcher Robinson Chirinos.

The club now has all 41 players on the major league roster under contract for 2015.

Texas is scheduled to play its Cactus League opener Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals at 1:05 p.m. MT at Surprise Stadium.

Alex Johnson dies at 72

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
11:57
AM CT

DETROIT -- Alex Johnson, who played 13 years in the majors and won the AL batting title with the then-California Angels in 1970, has died. He was 72.

Alex Johnson Jr. said Wednesday that his father died Saturday of complications from prostate cancer.

The elder Johnson played for eight teams in a career that began in 1964 with Philadelphia, batting .288 with 78 homers and 525 RBIs. The left fielder was an All-Star for the Angels in 1970, and his final season was in 1976 with his hometown Detroit Tigers.

Johnson spent just two seasons with the Angels, but became the only batting champion in the 55-year-old franchise's history when he hit .329 in 1970. Johnson beat out Carl Yastrzemski for the crown on the final day of the season, going 2 for 3 and inching .0003 percentage points ahead of the Boston star.

Johnson was suspended several times by the Angels during his second season with the club in 1971, feuding with teammates before leaving Orange County.

He also played for the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees.

Johnson's brother, Ron, was a running back for the New York Giants.

Alex Johnson Jr. recalled watching games with his father.

"He would critique from a technical standpoint," the younger Johnson said. "A lot of the managers and coaches today he would know and say, `I played with this guy."

Funeral services are scheduled Friday at Sacred Heart Church in Detroit.


(Read full post)


Elvis Andrus: I'm ready this spring

March, 4, 2015
Mar 4
1:49
AM CT
[+] EnlargeElvis Andrus
AP Photo/Brandon WadeAfter hitting a career-low .263 last season, Elvis Andrus said he took the offseason "a thousand times [more] seriously."

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Elvis Andrus is an old-timer with the Texas Rangers, even though he is only 26 years old and just getting started on a big contract extension he signed two years ago.

With 914 total games since he made his major league debut at age 20 in 2009, Andrus is the Rangers' longest-tenured position player.

"It's kind of weird, but it is that way," Andrus said. "That's the way baseball is. You don't know who will be here next year. You don't know if you'll be here next year."

Andrus and Mitch Moreland are the only position players remaining from the Rangers' first World Series team in 2010.

After hitting a career-low .263 last season, which started badly after a difficult camp, Andrus said he reported to Arizona this spring in the best shape of his career.

"I really believe that," Andrus said. "This year I took it a thousand times [more] seriously than I did the year before. It's part of the growing part, knowing yourself, knowing your body a little bit more every year. I had a really good plan. Our bodies are our business. You have to take care of that year in and year out."


(Read full post)


video

Jeff Banister, the Texas Rangers' new manager, often walks around with a small, black cash ledger, but he doesn't use it to help him keep up with his money.

He jots down thoughts about the team or questions for which he needs answers. Sometimes, he writes down interesting nuggets folks have told him.

He started this years ago, and now he has boxes of old ledgers stored at his home. You can't throw away a man's memories. Besides, at some point this season he'll probably refer to one of those old ledgers to help him get through a tough period during his first year with the Rangers.

Maybe, it could be an idea his mentor, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle, gave him during his four seasons as Pittsburgh's bench coach. Perhaps, it's a nugget gleaned from a conversation with former Pirates catcher Russell Martin that will help him make Robinson Chirinos a better player as a full-time starter for the first time.

Banister, whether he knew it or not, has been preparing for this opportunity his entire life, having overcome some big hurdles along the way.

The well-documented butt-kicking he gave bone cancer, when he was in high school.

The mental toughness he used to prove doctors who told him he'd never play baseball again after breaking three vertebrae in his neck during a home plate collision that left him paralyzed for 10 days.

The 29 years he spent with the Pirates, who didn't have a winning season from 1993 to 2013, has all shaped him to help the Rangers return to their winning ways.


(Read full post)


video

For the Rangers to get back to winning, they'll need Shin-Soo Choo to find his form at the plate and Derek Holland to shore up the rotation behind Yu Darvish.
video

Mark Mulder believes the Rangers have too many questions and injury concerns for the team to get over the 79-win mark this season.
video

ESPN injury analyst Stephania Bell discusses 1B Prince Fielder's recovery from neck surgery, pitcher Derek Holland's recovery from microfracture surgery and what the team did in the offseason to prevent injury.
video

Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder discusses the current state of his health after missing most of the 2014 season because of neck surgery.
video

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland attempted to impersonate Tim Kurkjian when answering questions about his own health.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.18 133 170
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182