Josh Hamilton takes shot at whether Texas is true baseball territory
TEMPE, Ariz. — New Los Angeles Angels slugger Josh Hamilton ruffled feathers in Texas when he told a television reporter that Dallas-Fort Worth isn’t “a true baseball town,” a statement that is sure to earn him boos when the Angels play the Rangers in Texas on April 5.
“Texas, especially Dallas, has always been a football town,” Hamilton, a five-time All-Star with the Rangers, said in an interview with Dallas’ CBS 11. “They’re supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time, pretty quickly. There are true baseball fans in Texas, but it’s not a true baseball town.”
Texas manager Ron Washington wouldn’t enter the debate, telling reporters, “Josh is an Anaheim Angel. That’s his opinion. There were 3.5 million fans who came through the turnstiles (last season). That answers it right there.”
Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News called Hamilton’s statement “a poison-tipped barb at a fan base that did nothing for five years but support him and offer him pretty much a free pass, regardless of the excuse or indiscretion.”
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Hamilton offered no apologies.
“I told them on camera — I said there are true baseball fans and then there are others who are not,” Hamilton said after the workout Monday. “The true baseball fans won’t boo when I come back; the ones who are not true fans will.”
• Major League Baseball pitched an arbitration shutout. Reliever Darren O’Day completed a $5.8 million, two-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Monday, becoming the final player to settle without a hearing among the 133 who filed for arbitration Jan. 15. This was the first year since arbitration began in 1974 that no player who filed went to a hearing. Baseball’s previous record low was three hearings, set in 2005 and matched in 2009 and 2011. The high was 35 hearings in 1986, but teams have signed more of their young stars to contracts before hearings in recent years, giving out multiyear deals.
• Derek Jeter took part in most of the Yankees’ team drills, including on-field batting practice for the first time since undergoing ankle surgery last October. The 38-year-old captain also took part in a 25-minute defensive session at shortstop. “It felt good,” Jeter said.
• Pedro Martinez rejoined the Red Sox as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. He will be working with the major and minor league pitchers.
• Marlins first baseman Casey Kotchman, a former Mariner, needed four stitches to close a cut on his left ring finger after running into a pop-up machine during infield drills.
• Roger Clemens, a special instructor for the Astros, said he is not about to start a lobbying campaign over the Hall of Fame. “I’m not going to lose any sleep over it,” Clemens said about not getting voted in recently. “If those guys feel I deserve to be there, then I deserve to be there. If they feel I don’t, then that’s OK too.”
• The Cubs have traded outfielder Tony Campana to the Diamondbacks for two 17-year-old pitchers — Erick Leal and Jesus Castillo, who both pitched in the Dominican Summer League last season. The 26-year-old Campana batted .262 with one homer and 11 RBI the past two seasons.
• Brewers first baseman Mat Gamel has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee for the second time in less than a year and will miss the season.
• Cubs starter Matt Garza will undergo tests to determine the severity of the injury he sustained while pitching batting practice. Garza felt a twinge in his side while throwing Sunday.
• A person with knowledge of the deal told The Associated Press the Pirates are planning to extend their third-year manager, Clint Hurdle, through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.