After Josh Hamilton hit a game-winning home run against the Angels on Wednesday night, one of the first people to call to congratulate him was his grandmother.
07/11/2008 2:44 PM ET
Grandma calls the shot for Hamilton
Slugger's grandmother predicts long ball
"She was all fired up," Hamilton told MLB.com. "She watches all the games. She was going, 'Josh, I just had a feeling. I had a feeling.' I said, 'Grandma, I wish you'd have more feelings like that.'"
Hamilton, meanwhile, has thoroughly enjoyed the huge season he's had -- a .309 average, 21 home runs and 91 RBIs -- including a home run and four RBIs on Thursday night.
"It has been fun," he said. "I've been enjoying it. I wouldn't want to be anywhere [else] than to be on this team and with these guys. This is the best clubhouse I've ever been in, and the Texas Rangers fans have been unbelievable. I just hope it keeps coming, and I hope it gets better and better."
Polanco takes oath of citizenship: Placido Polanco was one of 100 people sworn in as U.S. citizens in Detroit before the Indians-Tigers game on Wednesday. It's the thrill of a lifetime for Polanco.
"I wanted to be here in this country -- it's a country of opportunity," Polanco told The Detroit Free Press. "I work here playing baseball, and baseball has been very good to me and my family. God bless America."
Fish tales abound at Hunter homestead: Torii Hunter has enjoyed the Angels' road trip to Texas to face the Rangers, because it has allowed him to stay at his home north of Dallas. Hunter has had teammates Chone Figgins and Garrett Anderson stay with him as well.
"It's very nice," Figgins told The Los Angeles Times of Hunter's spread. "Usually, on the road, you can go to the mall, and that's about it. But we'd get up in the morning and fish. Just hung out by the dock and talked. You don't get to do that stuff. And for four days, it's just nice."
Gaudin plans to keep walks to a minimum: Chad Gaudin, traded by A's to the Cubs earlier this week, played under Cubs manager Lou Piniella in Tampa. He's excited about the opportunity to again play under Sweet Lou.
"It's fun and always exciting, intense -- everything you can throw in there," Gaudin told The Chicago Tribune. "I know one thing -- he does not like you to walk guys. You definitely learn that first hand.
"When you start walking people, you don't even have to look. At one point, I looked over there [in the dugout] a couple of years ago and saw that face and said 'Uh-oh, I better clean it up real quick.' That was in the past, and I'm here now, so enjoy."
Roberts to bring versatility in return: Dave Roberts, rehabbing in Triple-A, is close to re-joining the Giants.
"I think he'll be a huge addition," Bochy told The San Francisco Chronicle. "With Dave's experience and ability to play left and center, his speed, his left-handed bat, it would be similar to getting a free agent because we really haven't had that all year. He has some weapons that can help us, whether it's coming off the bench or starting."
Garcia takes fast track to Majors: For Jamie Garcia, who has yet to appear in a game, it's been an eventful season. After starting the year in Double-A Springfield, Garcia has been to Triple-A Memphis and now finds himself in the St. Louis bullpen. Manager Tony La Russa hopes that Garcia can be an effective lefty out of the pen.
"He's had some good periods, and he's made progress," La Russa told MLB.com. "I think he can be used in a Brad Thompson-like way -- versatile. He can give us innings, because he's used to it. And we have a left-handed relief need."
Rincon aims for return to old self: Juan Rincon, called up this week by the Cleveland Indians, believes he's ready to show he can get back to where he was during his best days while with the Twins.
"Physically, I feel very good," Rincon, who worked a scoreless inning on Thursday, told The Akron Beacon Journal. "I've been smart enough to take care of my body. After my surgery, it took some time for me to get back, but eventually, I felt as good as ever."
Chipper Jones keeps confidence high: Chipper Jones is having an exceptional season, even by his own high standards. He leads the Major Leagues with a .375 average and his 18 home runs lead the Braves.
"It's been fun from a personal standpoint," Jones told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I mean, this is not an individual sport. This is a team sport, and I'm most concerned with the well-being of the club. I know that if I stay healthy and play games, my numbers are going to be there. I'm still confident enough in my ability."
Johnson adds velocity in return: On Thursday, Josh Johnson made his first start in the Majors since undergoing Tommy John surgery last August. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs, striking out six and walking none for the Marlins. He threw harder than he did pre-surgery, consistently throwing 93-94 miles per hour. All but five of the 20 batters he faced got a first-pitch strike, and only two saw a 2-0 pitch.
"You have to pitch right, though," Johnson told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "You have to locate still. You might be able to get away with a few more things, but you can't bank on that."
Furcal shooting for late-August return: Disc surgery performed on Rafael Furcal has left him positive that he will return before the end of the season. Furcal had the operation on July 3 and is targeting a late-August return.
"I feel much better than I did before," Furcal, who was hitting a team-leading .366 when he was put on the disabled list on May 13, told The Los Angeles Times. "I feel only sore in one part."
Harden plans to be a rotation fixture: Cubs trainer Mark O'Neal and pitching coach Larry Rothschild plan to do all they can to keep newly acquired pitcher Rich Harden healthy.
"It's good to hear that," Harden told The Chicago Tribune. "I feel like I can go out there every fifth or sixth day, and if I get a day off here or there, it definitely makes a difference. Just with the history of having some injuries, that one extra day does make a difference, so I think that's something that we'd do."
Glaus intent on being everyday player: Troy Glaus takes pride in playing every day.
"It's what I do. I play ball," Glaus told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "When I'm healthy, I want to be in there every day. Look at my career, and that's the way it's been. I don't see any reason for it be different now."
Bush sets personal strikeout mark: Dave Bush is pitching with confidence, and it showed in a big way on Thursday. Bush chalked up a career-high 13 strikeouts in eight innings in the Brewers' 11-1 win over the Rockies.
"Having some successful outings gives you some confidence," Bush told MLB.com. "Confidence kind of ebbs and flows throughout the season, so once I got going, that definitely helped. Maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself at the beginning of the season."
Harrison impressive in debut: In the Rangers' 3-2 over the Angels on Tuesday night, Matt Harrison -- making his Major League debut -- pitched well enough to get another start this Sunday against the White Sox.
"Just getting one start was pretty awesome," Harrison told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "Now I've got to go out there and try to do the same thing. Maybe I can turn that into a third start."
-- Red Line Editorial