'No issues' with Josh Hamilton
ARLINGTON, Texas -- While the Texas Rangers are ready to move on after Josh Hamilton's error, general manager Jon Daniels confirmed Thursday that his star slugger didn't play his best down the stretch.
Daniels said Hamilton shouldn't shoulder all the blame for the Rangers losing nine of their last 13 games as the Oakland Athletics capitalized to win the AL West title on the final day of the regular season.
The Rangers, instead, will face the Baltimore Orioles in AL wild-card game on Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
"It's easy to pick out one guy, but it's been more than that," Daniels said. "Has Josh played his best? No. Did he have an unusual injury? Yeah. I think the focal point of media, fans and some of us was the popup yesterday in center field.
"That contributed to the loss, but that's not why we lost the game. Josh struggling is not why we've slumped the last two weeks, but it certainly contributed. The reality is there's no one reason why we've had a rough two weeks. We've got a clean slate right now, go out and play tomorrow and win."
Rangers manager Ron Washington said he doesn't need to say anything more to Hamilton about his error in center field Wednesday, and he's ready to move on from the play.
"I have no issues with Hamilton, and that's the end of that," Washington said.
In the fourth inning of Wednesday's 12-5 loss to Oakland that gave the A's the AL West title, Hamilton missed a routine fly ball to shallow center field. The error allowed two runs to score, turning a 5-5 game into a 7-5 lead. Following the inning, television cameras showed Washington having an animated discussion with Hamilton in the dugout.
"There was no issue with Josh and I, I don't care what you've seen on the camera," Washington said. "I'm the manager. I'm allowed to ask questions."
Hamilton was not available Thursday because the players were given the day off, but he said after Wednesday's game that he should have made the play. Yoenis Cespedes hit a fly ball to shallow center, and Hamilton came in to catch it. But he overran it, and the ball went off the top of his glove and behind him.
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"I just missed it, man," Hamilton said. "I didn't break down on it like I needed to. When you run a long way in like that, you're supposed to break down on your toes so you can get there and if it moves on you, you can make the adjustment. I didn't. I kept going and it came down and I didn't catch it. It sucks."
Hamilton missed five full games during a road trip in mid-August to Anaheim and Seattle with an eye issue that a doctor diagnosed as ocular keratitis, which caused him vision problems in part because of high caffeine use. Hamilton has curtailed the sports drinks and caffeine and has felt better since returning to the lineup Sept. 24.