Josh Hamilton won't be distracted
Less than 24 hours after becoming the 16th player to hit four home runs in one game in big league history, Hamilton said his main concern is staying healthy and helping the Rangers win a World Series.
"I'm not going to let it be a distraction for me," Hamilton said. "I'm going to keep trying to play good and put up good numbers and do what I can. I think they kind of want to see things play out and see me be healthy and play and all that."
The Rangers and Hamilton's agent have an open dialogue and are talking during the season as they try to see if there's a contract that works for both sides, prior to Hamilton becoming a free agent at the end of 2012.
"There's nothing new to say about the situation," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday.
"We want Josh to remain a Ranger for a long time, and he's expressed that the feeling is mutual. Beyond that, we are not going to discuss any potential negotiations, with Josh or other players."
So far, Hamilton is putting up monster numbers. Going into Wednesday, he was leading the league in batting average (.406), home runs (14) and RBIs (36). He said the chances were "very, very, very, very slim" that he'd finish the season on top of those Triple Crown categories.
"Why worry about something that likely won't happen anyway?" Hamilton said. "Just have fun, go out and play and help me team win. That's all I want to do. I want to win a World Series."
Hamilton said he's been "completely able to block" any talk of negotiations out of his mind and just play the game. He said he isn't worried about where he might be in 2013.
"I pray all the time that God has us where he wants us to be at the end of the season," Hamilton said. "If that's with Texas, it's with Texas. If not, I'll be happy to go wherever he wants us to go.
"It's easy for me to focus. I'm under contract with the Texas Rangers to play baseball this season, so what do I have to do on a daily basis to come in and play the best I possibly can that night? Thinking about all that stuff and how to do the best I can that night doesn't allow me to think about what's going on next year."
Hamilton went back to the hotel after Tuesday's game, ordered pizza and hung out with his father-in-law who is in town and Shayne Kelley, who is a Rangers staff member and part of Hamilton's support system. He said he prayed and had a chance to let the historic evening sink in for him. He talked with his wife, Katie, who said she was glad that she could yell as loud as she wanted inside the house and not bother anyone at the ballpark.
Josh Hamilton became just the third player since 1900 to come to the plate at least five times in a game and get a hit in each at-bat, four of which were home runs. Overall, there have been 16 four-homer games in MLB history.
5-5, 4 HR in game, since 1900
"It means a lot. It's special to me," Hamilton said. "But I can't live there. I take the confidence with me of having a good game like I would if I went 4 for 5 with four singles. You don't take the moment to the next day. It's a moment. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it isn't going to happen. One hundred percent of the time in this case. Don't live there."
Hamilton said he knew he was seeing the ball and getting the good part of the bat on it, though he wasn't sure his first or third home runs were going to leave the park.
"Things kind of slowed down for me and you just keep the barrel of the bat on the ball and if it goes, it goes," Hamilton said. "Very rarely do you try to hit a home run and hit one. (The) majority of the time it's a mistake thrown by a pitcher or you hit a line drive and you get the right angle on it to hit it out."
Hamilton said the ball from his fourth homer on Tuesday, given to him by reliever Mike Adams who made sure to secure it after it bounced near the bullpens, is safe in his luggage. He said it's been authenticated.
"It's probably going to end up either in a closet or rolling down the slide in the backyard if the girls get it," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said he spoke to Darren O'Day, his former Ranger teammate who threw the pitch that he hit for his fourth homer.
"I said maybe it was a higher power thing because he was set up way off the plate and he threw it right down the middle," Hamilton said. "I appreciate it."
He also appreciated that the Orioles pitched to him and decided to attack him.
"I think as a competitor for the other team or a pitcher, a new guy coming in, you think 'I want to take my shot, I want to go after him and see what I can do with him.' I give them a lot of credit for that. Some teams might have thrown the ball out of the zone and try to get me to chase or something like that. They came after me."
Hamilton said he wouldn't alter his approach before he received an unexpected rest when rain postponed Wednesday night's game between the Rangers and Orioles.
Moments before the announcement, several Texas players ran from the outfield and slid across the tarp. Hamilton was among them.
"You've got to keep the game fun," he said. "It reminds you of why you started playing as a little kid. When we were little kids we weren't allowed to do that because you'd get in trouble."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.