Texas Rangers: Barry Bonds

Rafael Palmeiro: Clemens, Bonds should be in HOF

August, 10, 2012
8/10/12
1:02
PM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas – Former Texas Rangers slugger Rafael Palmeiro said Friday that Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds should be voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Both Clemens and Bonds will be eligible for the first time starting in 2013.

“You’re talking about, in my opinion, probably the best pitcher of all-time and the greatest player of all-time,” Palmeiro said. “Keep them out and then the Hall of Fame has no credibility.”

Palmeiro, who was suspended 10 games by Major League Baseball in 2005 after testing positive for stanozolol, an anabolic steroid, said he’s proud of his career and how he played, even if he’s denied a spot in the Hall of Fame.

Palmeiro was voted on just 11 percent of the ballots in his first attempt at the Hall of Fame in 2011. He received 12.6 percent in 2012, well short of the 75 percent needed from voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to make it in. And he seems to understand it’s unlikely he’ll get enough votes to make it to Cooperstown.

“I put that behind me already,” said Palmeiro, who was in Arlington after being voted by the fans as one of the greatest Rangers of all-time as part of the club’s 40th anniversary celebration. “I know what kind of career I had. I’m good with it. I can look at myself in the mirror and feel good and proud of what I accomplished. The Hall of Fame would be icing on the cake, but if it doesn’t happen, I’m fine with it. I will accept that and move on and live with it.”

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Where does Nelson Cruz go from here?

March, 6, 2011
3/06/11
8:30
AM CT
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a magical season personally and for the Texas Rangers, what did right fielder Nelson Cruz come into spring training focusing on improving?

"The main thing is just shortening his stroke up a little bit," manager Ron Washington said. "The end result of shortening the stroke is more contact, less strikeouts, maybe a few more single and doubles."

Last season it seemed Cruz would miss out on some home runs because he would hit the ball so hard and on such a line that it would scream into the wall with an astounding thud. Even Cruz would laugh when asked over and over if anyone hits the ball harder.

Not only did Cruz hit it hard, he put together one of the great offensive seasons in all of baseball and perhaps one that has gone severely underrated, or underappreciated, especially in the shadow of Josh Hamilton's MVP season. Nelson, a classic late-bloomer who was practically given up on by the Rangers a few years ago, hit .318 last season with 22 home runs, 31 doubles and 78 RBIs in 108 games.

Had he not missed multiple stints with hamstring issues, 30 home runs and 100 RBIs would have seemed inevitable.

Cruz was Mr. Clutch last season with five extra-inning home runs, tying him with Charlie Maxwell of the 1960 Detroit Tigers for most in major league history. His three walk-off homers led the majors last season. He transferred that success to the postseason. With 13 extra-base hits in the playoffs, Cruz stands alone in that category as the all-time leader in a postseason.

His seven postseason doubles ties for the all-time lead with Hideki Matsui, Mike Lowell and Jason Werth, and his 44 total bases is tied for third-most all-time with Barry Bonds and just behind Albert Pujols (46), Troy Glaus (47) and Carlos Beltran (47).

So what does Cruz, 30, do for an encore in what will be only his third full season in the big leagues?

"With his years in this game and his growing experience, there is definitely upside," Washington said. "You might see him this year, he might hit .289, he might hit 40 bombs, he might drive in 100 runs. Average is overrated. His job is production. If he gives me average I’m fine with that, but I don’t think we really know yet exactly what all Nelson Cruz is capable of doing because he has a ton of upside."

And that could be scary.

Will Josh Hamilton get Barry Bonds treatment?

October, 26, 2010
10/26/10
11:31
AM CT

SAN FRANCISCO -- Getting the Barry Bonds treatment off the field could lead to a Congressional hearing, legal red tape and various other headaches and health ailments. Getting the Barry Bonds treatment on the field, however, is the ultimate sign of respect.

In the 2002 World Series between Bengie Molina's Angels and the San Francisco Giants, the Angels, burned one too many times by a Bonds home run, chose to intentionally walk him instead of giving him a chance to rip another.

In the ALDS, the Tampa Bay Rays didn't go that far, but they did refuse to give him anything good to hit. They threw Hamilton mostly off-speed pitches and almost all out of the zone. The strategy worked as Hamilton went fishing too often and finished the five game series with two hits.

Rangers president Nolan Ryan remembers watching in awe as Rays reliever Joaquin Benoit threw Hamilton five consecutive changeups.

"I was sitting here thinking, 'Have I ever seen another hitter in the game get five straight changeups?' And I thought, 'Not that I could recall.' So, I think that shows the respect and attitude of the opposing teams towards him."

In the ALCS, the New York Yankees went full-on Barry Bonds with Hamilton. In Game 6, the Yankees intentionally walked Hamilton three consecutive times, preferring to face clean-up hitter Vladimir Guerrero instead. Hamilton said he didn't expet to get the Bonds treatment from the Yankees.

"No," Hamilton said. "But then again I don’t get paid to manage a ballclub, probably never will. They did what they thought was the right move."

The second intentional free pass backfired. Guerrero blasted a double to deep center to score two to break a 1-1 tie and ignite a four-run inning the ALCS clincher.

"I knew Vladdy was going to get them," Hamilton said. "You can’t do it to him too many times. He’s going to get upset as far as wanting to show them he can do it. That drive that Vladdy has has got him through a long career."

How strange would it be if the Giants of all teams give Hamilton the Bonds treatment?

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.12 123 158
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .322
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 71
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .874
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182