Notebook: Hamilton makes most of extra day off
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Josh Hamilton was rifling through his bag Wednesday afternoon, trying to find the right bat to sign for a fan. Hitters are superstitious about this kind of thing, always making sure they don't give one away that has a few more hits in it.
Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson leaned over from the adjacent locker and jokingly told Hamilton that he wanted an autographed bat, too -- one that he used to hit a home run.
"It's been a while," Hamilton said. "Not sure I can find one of those."
The slugging outfielder hasn't homered since going deep off the Mariners' Anthony Vasquez on Sept. 23, a stretch of 19 games and 79 at-bats. That includes all five games against St. Louis in the World Series, which Texas leads 3-2.
Game 6 was postponed Wednesday because of rain, so the Rangers will have a chance to win their first championship on Thursday night.
The extra day off should give Hamilton a chance to rest his ailing groin.
Hamilton has been hampered by the injury for several months, and appeared particularly slowed by it during the first two games in St. Louis. He looked better in the warmer climate of Texas, but now the series shifts back north, where temperatures are expected to be much cooler.
"Of course it helped him to get a day off," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
Hamilton has grown so tired of discussing the injury that he warned reporters Wednesday that he wouldn't answer any questions if the subject was broached. He did say, however, the postponement allowed him to seek more treatment and that he'd be ready to go for Game 6 on Thursday night.
"I hit in the cage, threw in the outfield, got some treatment on things," he said. "We've figured out some things that will help, allow me to be able to be more aggressive and in less pain."
Hamilton wouldn't divulge any details, of course, but he did say that he's not concerned with his home run drought. He figures the rest of the lineup is potent enough.
"I don't feel any stress at all on me as far as not hitting home runs," he said. "Whatever I can do, whatever the game asks me to do, try to get it done, and pass the baton to the guys behind me."
Tony La Russa isn't necessarily a fan of the Moneyball concept.
The Cardinals manager was asked Wednesday about David Freese swinging at the first pitch after walks in Game 5, and La Russa launched into an indictment of on-base percentage, one of the key statistics around which Oakland general manager Billy Beane built some of his teams.
Michael Lewis turned Beane's story into the best-selling book Moneyball, and it's now a major motion picture starring Brad Pitt as the A's general manager.
"On-base percentage is one of the most dangerous concepts of the last seven, eight years," La Russa said, "because it forces some executives and coaches and players to think that it's all about getting on base by drawing walks, and the fact is the guys that have the best on-base percentage are really dangerous hitters whenever they get a pitch in the strike zone."
La Russa said the question people should ask in the case of Freese is not whether he should have swung at the first pitch -- and consequently, risk falling behind in the count - but whether the first pitch was a good one at which to swing.
"If he didn't get a good pitch to hit, that was bad execution and we should coach him better," La Russa said. "The pitch he had was a real good pitch to hit. He just hit a fly ball to center."
As for the film, which is playing in theaters around St. Louis?
"I'm going to see it tonight," La Russa said, though nobody was quite sure if he was sincere.
Mike Napoli is having a charmed postseason and a historic World Series.
After he was traded from the Angels to the Blue Jays to the Rangers within a week over the winter, Napoli wasn't sure exactly how much he was wanted. He finally learned during the AL divisional series against Tampa Bay, when he stepped to the plate with the bases loaded against Rays ace James Shields.
The crowd started chanting his name: Nah-po-li! Nah-po-li!
"It was kind of crazy, doing it then," Napoli said Wednesday. "It caught me off-guard. I was like, 'Man, this probably isn't the right time to be doing this,' but I came through. It was pretty cool."
Napoli has really come through in the World Series.
He's already joined Mickey Mantle as the only players with four multi-RBI games, and his nine RBIs represents nearly half of the Rangers' 19 runs. Only five other players - Mantle, Bobby Richardson, Yogi Berra, Sandy Alomar Jr. and Ted Kluszewski - drove in more in a World Series.
"I hear it. It's hard not to hear it when 50,000 people are doing it, " Napoli said of people chanting his name. "Yeah, the first time they did it, it kind of caught me off-guard. But now I like it. It's a cool thing."
Rangers reliever Mike Adams woke up feeling good Wednesday, long before Game 6 of the World Series was postponed due to rain, despite having some pretty funky dreams.
"I was dreaming about the game, for some reason," Adams said. "I dreamed they called me to come into the game, and for some reason I didn't have no spikes on, and I couldn't find my glove. It was weird, man, it was weird. We won the game, and then for some reason they made us play the bottom of the ninth again, and they tied it up. It was crazy, man, but we still won the World Series."
So did that part make it a sweet dream?
"It was a huge nightmare!" Adams said. "I was in dress clothes, I had a pair of Jordans on, I didn't have a glove and I was supposed to be getting loose. I was warming up in tennis shoes, the bullpen was above the dugout for some reason. It was one of those crazy dreams."
Perhaps the phone issues that St. Louis had during Game 5 in Texas, when manager Tony La Russa was unable to get the right relievers warmed up, contributed to the bullpen's location in the dream.
"Maybe," Adams said, laughing. "They could just look over and tell us."
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