Frisco, Texas: Josh Hamilton Presser
Things get started with a laugh. Running a few minutes late Josh Hamilton says, “Sorry I’m late folks, had to take a pee pee test.”
I had no idea I was interviewing Harvey Dent. Anyway, Let’s get going loyal readers!
Question: How’s Your Timing?
Josh Hamilton: A lot better. Yesterday or the day before we had a double header, all I was really seeing was lefties. Starting to feel better against lefties. My righty and lefty swings are a bit different right now. Lefty swing isn’t as aggressive right now. I know that. At least I know that. I know I need to focus on being the same guy as far as my mentality when I’m at the plate.
Another thing, seeing pitches, staying back on balls. Yesterday’s game was great. (Coach said) just go up there and cut loose. Didn’t think about my mechanics as much, just go play.
When you haven’t been yourself for a while, it’s not that easy to just (get) back over and do it every time.
Question: Certain amount of At Bat’s needed? Or is there a feeling like ‘that’s more like it?’
Hamilton: It’s crazy to put a number on At Bat’s, it’s all more of a feel thing, but if I have three or four more games like I did last night I could really be ready.
Question: Are you starting to feel an excitement, like we’re getting a little closer?
Hamilton: That excitement’s been there since Extended Spring Training. You know, just being back out here, being around the guys again, now getting to the point of being around fans. The excitement’s there and the excitement’s not going away.
Question: Physically how is your body?
Hamilton: It’s good. You expect the normal soreness. Legs hurting, body hurting and “Welcome Back to Baseball Season.” Nothing’s jumping out as far as “ow it hurts”. Just wearing cleats and getting out there, running the bases, playing center’s been fun. I still haven’t taken a ball out there yet, though (laughter) so hopefully I can do that today. It’s just different out there in center, more focused, in the game, you’re moving guys, it’s where I want to be.
Question: What kind of reception are you expecting back in front of a Dallas-Fort Worth crowd?
Hamilton: Heck I don’t know. Hopefully like Round Rock, it was pretty awesome and just a good feeling. A homey feeling, running around the clubhouse, fans cheering, getting on deck, just being out there. I’ve always loved spending time with the fans. I enjoy that just as much as I do being out there playing. Like I’ve said before it’s not all about playing baseball it’s about impacting people’s lives and letting them know you’re a real person to. They pay to come watch you play a game for a living. I’m excited about it, I hope it’s a good one, if not it’ll toughen me up a little bit.
Question: Does this feel like you’re closer to Arlington?
Hamilton: You know I hadn’t even thought about the Arlington thing yet. I’m so focused on what I need to do right now wherever I’m at to get ready to get back to that point. But that excitement, as I feel better and better out here, will start building for sure.
Question: What was the reception from the RoughRiders players?
Hamilton: I don’t know I haven’t gone over there yet (laughter). It’s always good to come in and see younger guys, new clubhouse, see the excitement, play around mess around with each other. It reminds you it’s part of the game. The camaraderie and the love you have for each other and the back you have for the next guy sitting beside you in the clubhouse. It’s a good feeling to be apart of it. Same thing in Round Rock, those guys go have fun out there. Talking to these guys it feels the same away.
Question: How different has this particular rehab stint been?
Hamilton: It’s just different. In fact, wasn’t hurt coming down. Being there for a couple games then gone, I mean it’s okay mentally (and) physically. (Hardest) thing is getting back into the swing of things and getting ready to move forward and play with the big club. Mentality as far ‘Okay, I gotta get back up and produce and get ready,’ This is ‘Okay, get ready mentally.” I can take it a little slower if I want to take it slower, also I’ve grown up a bit. I understand I can’t make up for lost time, so I need to prepare right now so when I get back I can stay there and not worry about that.”
Question: Difference between “dropping” down from AAA to AA?
Hamilton: No, it was funny last night I was the last guy in the clubhouse saying goodbye to the guys. Still had my jersey and shower shoes on and they were saying, “hey man it’s okay to get sent down” (laughter). You’ve got a lot of prospects in AA, a lot of arms. A lot of times the players make the jump from AA to the Big Leagues so, no, I don’t expect it to be much different.
(My FIRST EVER) Question: Between the new roster and the state of the Rangers, what do you anticipate being the biggest difference this time around?
Hamilton: Well, I didn’t know what to expect the first time when I came to the Rangers being traded coming in and found a place very quickly. I think as a player as an athlete as a guy who wants to play the game, wants to win and what you can to have fun, all you can do is do what you can to bring that into the club house. I told Adrian (Beltre) when I talked to him, “I’m not wanting to come in there and cause any disruption in the clubhouse. He said they had a good thing, good chemistry in the clubhouse. I said I want to keep it that way.” So I think that’s the most important thing, obviously spend time with the guys and try to help other guys but at the same time do your work, prepare, and give it everything you got on the field everyday and lead that way.
Question: Have you been keeping track of the Rangers?
Hamilton: A little bit. I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve watched (a lot of) baseball. But I’ve been keeping track of some of the guys, word of mouth, players going up and down and checking on guys that way. But yeah, I’ve see the guys pick it up. There’s been so many injuries the last couple of years it’s hard to have chemistry and you know, have the type of team you want to have to go out and play and compete when you got guys going down and coming up and all that stuff. Seems like they’re getting into a better place now where guys are staying and you get that chemistry worked out, where it needs to be, so you can be a good team on the field.
Question: Do you sometimes have to slow yourself down in the process?
Hamilton: Yeah, I was talking about that earlier, you know I get it now. Being a little bit older, more experienced. I need to do what I need to do, I don’t need to think that ‘I just need to get there and everything will be okay,’ I need to do what I need to do, feel comfortable here and play like I’m capable of playing then go.
Question: So if it takes a little more time, that’d be okay?
Hamilton: Yeah I’m okay with that. I used to fight the trainers, which is a good thing, means the guy wants to be out there. This time I’m listening to them, taking what they say to heart, understand they want the best for me, want me out there more than anybody, but listen to them, get back on a timetable that’s reasonable. And they’re not going to hold me back at the same time.
Question: Do you feel like you left the Angels on good enough terms?
Hamilton: Well here’s the thing. I tried on multiple occasions, and I’ve told everyone this from (Major League Baseball) to (Angels Manager) Mike Scioscia, you know, even when I was there playing in 2013, wasn’t being the guy I was supposed to be. 2014, same thing. Tried to reach out to the (Angels) Owner Arte (Moreno) and talk to him, tell him ‘you know I’m working my butt off and I want to be that guy that played against you all these years.’ I was always turned down by General Manager and Team President. They said “They would let him know.” Same thing happened after this incident, after surgery. I talked to (Angels GM) Jerry Dipoto, said “you know what Jerry, I’d love to talk to Arte, talk to him and reassure him things are okay.” Turned down again.
So to answer your question, I did what I needed to do to be a responsible man and employee and reach out to them and was always denied that opportunity, so my hands are clean.
Question: When was the last time you talked to Arte (Morneo)?
Hamilton: *blows raspberry* Umm, sometime during the season.
Question: Last year? That was it.
Hamilton: Last year. That was it.
Say what you want, a couple things stick out.
"I’ve grown up a bit. I get it now."