Sunday, June 27, 2010
Clubhouse notes: Vlad mum on Angels
By Jeff Caplan
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Vladmir Guerrero had little interest Sunday in talking about his return to the team where he put up some astounding numbers and won a World Series. The Rangers visit the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game set starting Tuesday.
Guerrero played six seasons for the Angels and was beloved by the club's fans. The Rangers are the third team Guerrero has played for in his 15-year career, but this will be the first time he's returned to a former home. Guerrero played the first eight years of his career in Montreal.
"I don't have a thought to that," Guerrero said when asked how he thinks the fans will react when he comes to the plate for the first time. "We'll wait and see how the fans react. I don't know."
One look at Guerrero's numbers and it's clear Angels fans likely miss the slugger. He enters Sunday night's game against Houston batting .323 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs.
"Yeah, I think they do [miss him]," Josh Hamilton said of his teammate. "Vlad is just such a likeable man. He plays well, always has a smile on his face. The fans want to see that. That's a good combination to have. I think they miss him there and I think he'll get a good ovation."
Guerrero, 35, continues to dismiss inquiries asking if the Angels made a mistake by letting him leave, but he did acknowledge that it feels good to go back to Southern California with such strong offensive numbers.
"It feels good. Last year I had a lot of injuries. Now I'm playing healthy," Guerrero said. "I want to keep working, stay healthy. That’s my main focus, play well and stay healthy."
*How does Rangers third baseman Michael Young feel about critics who suggest the Rangers' recent 10-game win streak and 12 of 13 should hold off on celebrations until the Rangers battle through a more rigorous portion of the schedule?
"I couldn't give a damn," he said. "I'm glad you said critics and not experts, by the way. I've heard a lot about, 'What do you think about what the experts say?' I’m like they're not experts."
There's no denying that the Rangers have built the second-best record in baseball playing some of the lightweights of the National League: Milwaukee, Houston and Pittsburgh. The schedule takes a tougher turn starting Tuesday at Anaheim then back at home for three against the streaking Chicago White Sox.
"Everybody's entitled to their opinions. I don't take it personally at all," Young said. "At the same time, it's not my business to really care. Those games are over with. We're glad we played well, but now we have to move on and focus on what we have to do."
*Josh Hamilton looks to extend his career-high hitting streak to 20 games tonight. He was asked if, at the beginning of the streak, he could feel his stroke coming together. Hamilton replied, "What streak?"
*Houston Astros pitcher Roy Oswalt gets the start tonight. There remains speculation that the Rangers could deal for the hard-throwing right-hander before the trade deadline. Rangers manager Ron Washington would be all for that. Washington described what he likes about Oswalt very deliberately: "His aggressiveness, he attacks. Mound presence. Confidence. Stuff."
Oswalt enters the game with a 5-9 record, but a 3.08 ERA.
"What I've been reading, earlier in the year, if he had gotten run support, things would look a lot different. Looking at numbers, sometimes you really don't see the pitcher," Washington said. "This guy could still be the same guy and not getting the support. If he had gotten the support, maybe he's not 5-6. Maybe he's 8-2 or something. He has a track record."