Hamilton making charge in AL MVP race
Rangers outfielder 'showed everything' in big game Friday
ARLINGTON -- Rangers manager Ron Washington was asked Saturday afternoon if outfielder Josh Hamilton was the best all-around player in the game right now."I would say so," Washington said. "I don't know too many players who can do what he does." Calling anybody the best player in the game is audacious. Miguel Cabrera is having a great season for the Tigers, Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols have not retired, Joey Votto is having a big year for the Reds and any team would kill for an all-around catcher as good as Joe Mauer. But Hamilton's performance in Friday night's 10-9 victory over the Red Sox was certainly a tour de force. Maybe it doesn't make him the best player in the game, but it certainly does advance his candidacy for American League Most Valuable Player. Hamilton was 4-for-5 with a home run, four runs scored and a stolen base. He scored one run by dashing home from third on David Murphy's shallow sacrifice fly and another in the eighth inning by racing in from second base on an infield single by Vladimir Guerrero. His leaping catch against the center-field wall on Jed Lowrie's long drive in the sixth inning was No. 1 on ESPN's Plays of the Day. "You just happened to see a five-tool guy last night," Washington said. "He showed everything -- speed, power, ability to hit, ability to throw, the ability to throw some defense out there." Hamilton was the reason why the Rangers were able to overcome the Red Sox's 8-2 lead and end up winning in the 11th inning on Nelson Cruz's home run. "I just think I was where I was supposed to be," Hamilton said. "Backing up plays, getting jumps on balls, all the things you practice on a consistent basis. But none of it shows up unless you get the opportunity." Hamilton appears to be running neck-and-neck for the AL MVP award. Hamilton is leading the league with a .362 batting average along with 25 home runs and 79 RBIs. Cabrera is hitting .338 with 26 home runs and a league-leading 94 RBIs. Hamilton leads the league with a .633 slugging percentage and Cabrera is tops with a .427 on-base percentage. "It's too early," Hamilton said. "Any day it could turn quickly. That's baseball in general. Obviously, it would be a great honor. That would mean a lot less ... or maybe a lot more if we were in the playoffs." He needs to stay healthy. He was on the disabled list twice last year for injuries sustained crashing into outfield walls. But there he was in the sixth inning crashing into the wall to grab Lowrie's drive. He survived this crash though. "The worst part is not hitting the wall, it's coming down and hitting the ground," Hamilton said. "I'm a little sore today. ... My wife [Katie] didn't like it. My father-in-law said she turned white and had her head down."
Rangers put Guzman on DL with quad strain
ARLINGTON -- Cristian Guzman was supposed to be back at second base on Saturday but showed up at the Ballpark in Arlington with tightness in his right quad muscle.Before Saturday's game began, Guzman was on the disabled list with a strained right quadriceps muscle. Pitcher Pedro Strop was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma City. The move leaves the Rangers without a utility infielder, but that is only expected to be a temporary situation. Joaquin Arias (strained lower back) is eligible to be activated off the disabled list on Sunday. Guzman played in Friday's 10-9 win over the Red Sox. He pinch-ran for Vladimir Guerrero in the eighth inning and later struck out in his only at-bat. He is 3-for-34 since being acquired from the Nationals right before the Trade Deadline. Arias is 3-for-12 in three games on medical rehabilitation assignment for Double-A Frisco. Strop is 1-2 with a 2.11 ERA and 10 saves in 35 games at Oklahoma City and has a 2.45 ERA in four games with the Rangers previously this season.
Washington could rest Vlad on Sunday
ARLINGTON -- With the Rangers playing an afternoon game, manager Ron Washington said he will consider giving Vladimir Guerrero a day off on Sunday and using Josh Hamilton at designated hitter. That would allow him to get Julio Borbon back in the lineup.Borbon has started just once in the last nine games while Washington stays with David Murphy's hot bat. "I talked to Wash about the situation," Borbon said. "It's just what we have going on and what's best for the team. The only thing he's told me is that I'm a big reason why we're here and I'm going to continue to be. Don't feel left out, this is only temporary and he'll find a way to get me in there."
Lowe still hoping to pitch again this season
ARLINGTON -- The latest on Rangers injuries: Pitcher Mark Lowe (lower back surgery) is progressing on his throwing program and will be sent to Surprise, Ariz., on Monday to continue to work there. Lowe, acquired from the Mariners along with Cliff Lee, is hoping to start throwing off the mound in Arizona and possibly get in some games so he can ultimately pitch in Major League games before the season is over. "We'll see," Lowe said. "I definitely don't want to ruin what I've got going, but I still think it will happen based on how I feel. There is plenty of time for it to happen." Second baseman Ian Kinsler (strained groin) remains limited in what he can do. He has not started taking batting practice and is waiting for clearance from Dr. Keith Meister before that happens. He may get a third MRI before then. Most of his conditioning work is being done on an underwater treadmill. Catcher Matt Treanor (sprained knee) is expected to begin his medical rehabilitation assignment on Monday at Triple-A Oklahoma City.
Rangers complete Saltalamacchia trade
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have acquired Class A catcher Michael Thomas from the Red Sox as the player to be named later in the Jarrod Saltalamacchia trade. The Rangers are sending him to Arizona and converting him to a pitcher.They had some success doing that when they took Alexi Ogando in the Minor League phase in the Rule 5 Draft. He was an outfielder for Oakland, but A.J. Preller, who had scouted him in the Dominican Republic, suggested he be turned into a pitcher. Thomas, 21, is 6-foot-3, and highly rated as far his throwing ability as a catcher. But he was hitting just .156.
Catcher Taylor Teagarden is expected to start at catcher on Sunday. He was in there on Saturday night as well. ... The nine home runs on Friday night are tied for the third most ever in one game at the Ballpark in Arlington. There have been two 10-homer games: May 21, 2005, against the Astros and June 30, 2005, against the Angels. ... The Rangers have signed right-handed pitcher Steve McKinnon, their 32nd-round pick out of Cowichan High in Duncan, British Columbia.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.