Saturday's roundup: Hamilton set to join Rangers

Associated Press

Round Rock, Texas — Josh Hamilton is done with his personal spring training and ready to rejoin the Texas Rangers.

The slugger is set to fly Sunday to Cleveland to meet the team for the start of a three-game series against the Indians. The opener Monday is four weeks to the day after Texas finalized a trade to reacquire the 2010 AL MVP from the Los Angeles Angels.

"I am excited about it," Hamilton said Saturday night, after his final scheduled game at Triple-A Round Rock was rained out. "It's been a process from surgery to now, to work hard and get healthy and mentally focused."

An All-Star in each of his previous five seasons with Texas (2008-12), Hamilton went to Arizona for extended spring training the day after April 27 deal with the Angels. He played a few games there, then spent the past two weeks with Round Rock or Double-A Frisco.

During 12 games in his minor league rehab stint, Hamilton hit .364 with one homer and six RBIs.

"I feel good. My body is where I think it should be, close to being, before going up," he said earlier Saturday. "And my at-bats over the last five or six games have felt pretty good. I'm seeing pitches, putting good swings on balls."

Hamilton, who turned 34 on Thursday, was on the 15-day disabled list while recovering from right shoulder surgery on Feb. 4. He never reported to the Angels this spring after the offseason that also included his self-reported relapse with alcohol and cocaine.

In two seasons with the Angels after signing a $125 million, five-year free agent contract in December 2012, Hamilton hit .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs. He played only 89 games for Los Angeles last year because of injuries.

The slugger hit .305 with 152 homers and 506 RBIs in 647 games during his first stint in Texas. Hamilton led the majors with a .359 batting average in 2010, the season he was also the MVP of the AL Championship Series and the Rangers went to the first of consecutive World Series.

The Rangers sent Hamilton back to Round Rock after he played at Frisco on Wednesday, saying then that they would re-evaluate his status this weekend. He found out after the rainout that he was headed back to the majors.

"Well, I had some good at-bats tonight," Hamilton joked.

Hamilton had been watching recent Rangers games, including their 15-4 win Saturday in New York when they had a 10-run third inning against the Yankees.

"That's pretty fun, that's what I expect when you talk about Rangers baseball," he said. "Putting runs up, having fun, looking in the dugout and seeing guys cutting with each other, being kids. If that continues to happen, we'll do good things."

Texas finishes its series against the Yankees on Sunday night before heading to Cleveland for the reunion with Hamilton.

Foreign substance gets Matusz ejected

The Baltimore Orioles' bullpen was already stretched thin in the 12th inning when left-hander Brian Matusz was ejected for using a sticky substance that was on his right arm.

His replacement, T.J. McFarland, then gave up the winning single to Martin Prado in the 13th, and the Orioles lost to the Miami Marlins 1-0 Saturday.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter shrugged off the impact of the ejection, saying Matusz would have faced only one more hitter anyway.

"He wouldn't have pitched the next inning," Showalter said.

Matusz might not pitch again for a while. The Brewers' Will Smith was suspended for eight games Friday for having a foreign substance on his arm in a loss to the Braves.

Matusz entered the game in the 12th with the score 0-0 and retired the first two batters before new Marlins manager Dan Jennings approached home plate umpire Jordan Baker. Baker and crew chief Paul Emmel then went to the mound to inspect Matusz's arm.

"I went out there and told the pitcher I was going to touch his right forearm," Emmel said. "That's where he was touching before he went to the ball. I detected a foreign substance, so the pitcher was ejected."

Showalter joined the conversation with no argument.

Matusz declined to say much about it.

"We're not going to address the issue right now," he said. "Obviously I have my own personal opinions about the issue, but right now with emotions running high we're going to let this settle and address questions at a later time."

Jennings said the Marlins noticed Matusz using a suspicious substance.

"We saw something shiny on his arm," Jennings said. "We watched a couple of pitches to make sure he went to it. By their opinion there was a foreign substance there, they made their decision."

The Marlins broke an eight-game losing streak and improved to 1-8 on their homestand. Jennings earned his first career victory in six games as a manager, then received a dunking from his players in the nightclub swimming pool adjacent to the clubhouse.

Jennings was unable to pinpoint who dunked him in the pool.

"No, the shaving cream pretty well blocked my vision," he said with a laugh. "It's the best, dirtiest bath I've ever had."

Five Miami relievers combined to pitch the final seven innings while allowing only two baserunners. Carter Capps (1-0) struck out six in the final three innings.

Adeiny Hechavarria walked to start the 13th against McFarland (0-1). Hechavarria took third on a two-out single by Marcell Ozuna. Giancarlo Stanton was then intentionally walked to load the bases.

Prado lined a 1-1 pitch into right-center field.

"It kills me because I know everybody out there did everything they could to win," McFarland said. "That's the worst part for me. It hurts that I wasn't able to come through for the team."

Baltimore's Mike Wright allowed three hits in seven scoreless innings and has yet to give up a run through 14 innings in two career starts. The last of his 98 pitches was a 96 mph fastball to strike out Michael Morse with runners at the corners to end the seventh.

Wright's scoreless streak to begin his career is the longest by an Orioles pitcher since Dave Ford started with 15 consecutive shutout innings in 1978, according to STATS.

Oliver Drake, recalled before the game from Triple-A Norfolk, pitched three scoreless innings in his major league debut.