The latest from around baseball ...
- Last week, Josh Hamilton, who's been mired in a deep, protracted slump, made some unusual comments about a personal issue that has been affecting him on the field, and talked about being disobedient to God. Hamilton, who has battled substance abuse issues, set off alarms for folks worried about his continued recovery. This weekend, he explained in a statement that the issue has been his attempt to stop using chewing tobacco. "I felt it was important to clarify what the issue was to which I was referring, both personally and professionally. The issue is discipline," his statement read. "Professionally, it's been plate discipline. Personally, it's been being obedient to the Lord in quitting chewing tobacco." Apparently Hamilton's slump coincides with his efforts to quit tobacco, which is a pretty big bummer, as far as catch-22s go. On May 20, his OPS was a lofty 1.227. To date, it has fallen all the way down to .912.
- Chipper Jones is not going to reconsider his decision to retire after this season, despite his lofty numbers on the year (he's hitting .320/.394/.513). "I thought I was fully capable of doing what I'm doing," Jones told David O'Brien. "In fact, I told my agent [B.B. Abbott] in spring training. He told me, ‘You can't back-track on this [retirement decision]. If you've got 20 homers and you're hitting .300 and you've got 80 or 90 RBIs, you can't second-guess yourself.' And I said, well, I'm going to have those numbers, and I'm ready to leave. I'm ready to move on .... It's nice to have people saying that [I should keep playing]. It's nice that people aren't saying, ‘You should have done it two or three years ago.' The fact that people are saying I should stay, that I could still be effective, that's kind of what I was shooting for. No matter what you do you're not going to make everybody happy. I've got two wives that will attest to that."
- Cracks are forming in Roy Oswalt's tenure in the Texas Rangers' bullpen. Just a week after being moved to the pen after being ineffective in the rotation, Oswalt declined to continue an outing in which he was pitching well in relief. He'd thrown two solid innings when his manager asked him to throw a third (it was the third time Oswalt had pitched in seven days), and Oswalt said no. He's also told the front office that he wants to start, and isn't happy about being placed in the pen. Oswalt, you'll recall, signed mid-season with the Rangers over a number of other suitors.
- The Red Sox picked up third baseman Danny Valencia from the Twins for minor league outfielder Jeremias Pineda.
- Tim Lincecum is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in his last two starts, which is a pretty big deal, given that he was, statistically (by some measures), the worst starting pitcher in baseball before that.
- Bryce Harper destroyed a bat at home plate. He's going to have to work on that, but he's just 19.