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OnBaseMachine
03-10-2007, 08:13 PM
Hamilton Shines in Spring: Reds Outfielder Playing Well As He Tries to Restart Career
Mar 10, 05:38 PM

By Scott Priestle, The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio

Mar. 10--SARASOTA, Fla. -- The first pitch from Detroit Tigers reliever Fernando Rodney was a change-up, and Josh Hamilton swung too soon. Strike one. One pitch later, Rodney threw a fastball, and Hamilton waved at it too late. Strike two.

For a moment, Hamilton looked like a player who had been away from the game for most of the previous 4½ years.

"Honestly, I felt like I was overmatched," he said. "Then I had to reassure myself: 'Hey, (Adam) Dunn just hit the ball off him and made it look easy. I can do that, too.' It just made me bear down and concentrate more and re-evaluate everything in my head."

After taking a pitch for ball two, Hamilton looked for another change-up, got one and lined it into the gap in right center for a triple.

In eight games for the Cincinnati Reds this spring, Hamilton is 11 for 23 with four extra-base hits, four walks and only three strikeouts. Though he played only 15 games the previous four seasons, he has shown few signs of rust at the plate or in the field.

"I really expected him to be overanxious," manager Jerry Narron said. "He's taken pitches extremely well. He's used the entire field. He's been very impressive."

After the Reds selected Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft in December, Narron and his brother Johnny -- who have known Hamilton for years -- worked with him a few times per week, hoping to hone the skills that were long dormant.

The Reds were intrigued by Hamilton's talent: he was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, and two years later Baseball America named him the top prospect in the minor leagues. But he was suspended for the 2003 to 2005 seasons because of a drug problem, and injuries bothered him other years. The Reds must keep him on the big-league roster all season or offer him back to Tampa Bay for $25,000, so there is some urgency to get Hamilton ready to at least fill a role on the bench.

Few could have expected him to get back to speed so quickly -- including Hamilton, who said he was "a little jumpy" at the plate during his first days facing live pitching. He has spent considerable time in the batting cage this spring with the Narrons and hitting coach Brook Jacoby.

"They just tell me to practice some things in the cage, then during the game get out there and swing the bat and play like I played in high school," he said, "just have fun."
It is rarely that easy. Players at all levels struggle to carry lessons from the cage to the field, where the pitches are tougher and the adrenaline pumps harder. Some never figure it out.

"He's not your average guy, talentwise," general manager Wayne Krivsky said with a smile.

Jerry Narron said Hamilton's skills are "as good as anybody in the game." Dunn has called him "the best baseball player I ever saw."

Hamilton has played well in right and center field. An inning before he hit the triple off Rodney on Thursday, he made a diving catch in shallow right field.

The toughest adjustment, he said, has been running the bases.

"Knowing the count, knowing the situation, knowing how many outs there are, knowing to freeze on a line drive, knowing when to tag up -- there's so much going on, so much involved in base running," he said. "Getting my leads again, seeing pitchers' pick-off moves, just getting that reaction back... "

With that in mind, Narron has played Hamilton more than anyone else this spring, to the point that Hamilton has been bothered by shin splints, an affliction most often seen in weekend warriors. Aside from the shin splints and the two ugly swings against Rodney, though, Hamilton has aced his baseball refresher course.

"I usually pick things up quick," he said. "I can't say I'm surprised. I worked hard in the offseason."

http://feed.insnews.org/v-cgi/feeds.cgi?feedid=144&story_id=2720609

dougdirt
03-10-2007, 08:28 PM
Jumping the gun a little bit there Dunn arent we? I mean we are all impressed with what Josh has been able to do.... but Dunn just said that Hamilton is better than Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr, Ryan Howard etc.

RedsManRick
03-10-2007, 08:33 PM
Forget if he's right. Dunn is being humbled. That is good. He's refocusing on maximizing his own talent. If Hamilton does nothing more than focus Adam Dunn, it is 50 grand and a roster spot well spent.

Tom Servo
03-10-2007, 08:36 PM
This reminds me of another quote I read in Jayson Stark's column about Hamilton by Jeff Conine.


"I know if I took three years off," Conine says, "I wouldn't be able to make contact with the ball, let alone hit balls 500 feet."


It may just be spring training right now, but it's still pretty unbelivable that things have gone this well so far.

edabbs44
03-10-2007, 08:54 PM
The lovefest has reached astronomical levels..

RedFanAlways1966
03-10-2007, 09:04 PM
Hamilton is 11 for 23 with four extra-base hits, four walks and only three strikeouts.

Considering this is all Adam Dunn has seen from the guy... his assessment at this point is probably right (being technical). Adam has seen Pujols, Bonds, etc... and none of those guys have those kind of numbers when Adam Dunn has seen them. Right or wrong?

A little over the top? Definitely, but the guy has those numbers after being out of the game (drugged and drunk) for 3 years. Adam knows that part too... as we all do. That part of it probably impresses Dunn as well. Dunn's comment might be relative to Hamilton being one of the most "natural" ballplayers he has ever seen.

membengal
03-10-2007, 09:26 PM
The lovefest has reached astronomical levels..

Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...

Candy Cummings
03-10-2007, 09:34 PM
Adam Dunn has Sparky Anderson disease. Long way to go. Still, if Hamilton can get back what he once had, he helps us immensely.

Cedric
03-10-2007, 09:56 PM
He's likely saying he's got the best skill set of any player he has ever seen. That's not really that shocking considering the guy was considered a once in a generation ballplayer. Those raw skills are obviously still apparent.

BCubb2003
03-10-2007, 10:04 PM
Dunn used to say similar things about Austin Kearns.

smith288
03-10-2007, 10:22 PM
Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...
Oh snap!

Slider
03-10-2007, 10:36 PM
Is it too soon to say Hamilton is a "Hall of Famer" just waiting for his induction?

Whoa nelly !

Let's not build a statue in front of GAB just yet...

KronoRed
03-10-2007, 10:39 PM
Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...

...or someone is allowed to have an opinion on a subject without having an agenda ;)

edabbs44
03-10-2007, 11:11 PM
Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...

Not at all. We all know that ST stats are worth a lot less than they seem. And I'll take Deno's performance of .352/.407/.463 in Sept and Oct of last year in a playoff race over spring training any day.

It's a foregone conclusion that Deno's headed to Louisville. I don't think it would matter if he was hitting .500 this spring. Griffey, Dunn, Freel, Conine were locked in. With Narron's history with Hamilton, it would be extra tough for him to get a fair shake this spring anyway.

The point is that he shouldn't have even been in this position this spring. He should have had a roster spot locked up. Hopefully he or Freel will get dealt to maximize their values. They don't need both of them.

OnBaseMachine
03-10-2007, 11:48 PM
He's likely saying he's got the best skill set of any player he has ever seen. That's not really that shocking considering the guy was considered a once in a generation ballplayer. Those raw skills are obviously still apparent.

Agreed. That's how Dunn's quote came across to me too.

919191
03-11-2007, 01:24 AM
He's likely saying he's got the best skill set of any player he has ever seen. That's not really that shocking considering the guy was considered a once in a generation ballplayer. Those raw skills are obviously still apparent.

If Dunn is speaking seriosly, I agree, but sometimes I think he says stuff just to say stuff, and half of RZ gets so uptight you couldn't pull a needle out of their butthole with a tractor.

Phhhl
03-11-2007, 01:35 AM
Hyperbole. But there is no other way to take it than as a positive. Hopefully, the early success is showing Hamilton that there are other ways to get "high" in this world.

reds44
03-11-2007, 03:05 AM
He's going to start in CF. Watch. I think Griffey will approve, and he'll get the nod over Freel.

Cedric
03-11-2007, 03:10 AM
I'm an anti-hype guy, no doubt about that. I just wish people could sometimes not be so cynical about everything. It's baseball, no problem with dreaming.

GAC
03-11-2007, 05:04 AM
Dunn has called him "the best baseball player I ever saw."

Your English teacher called Adam. It's ... "The best player I have even seen". :D

creek14
03-11-2007, 05:28 AM
If Dunn is speaking seriosly, I agree, but sometimes I think he says stuff just to say stuff, and half of RZ gets so uptight you couldn't pull a needle out of their butthole with a tractor.

So true and freaking hysterical. :laugh: :thumbup:

Topcat
03-11-2007, 06:11 AM
My thoughts are simple if Josh can put up an average of >240 and knock in say 25 runs and score 30 and hit 10 dingers along with his fielding skills it will be an absolute godsend considering the odds of success against him ever being able to produce.

Face it the Red's have to keep this kid just on chance he beats the odds that so glaringly are against his succeeding. I also believe keeping Deno is a must. This Connine in the outfield talk should be nothing but desperation. Sorry but my 25 th man on the Roster Is Josh Hamilton and not some moldy cheese Catcher.

No way do I give this kid up who has shown great plate discipline and the ability to be a great late inning replacement in the outfiled. Christ the Reds will get blown out in some games and I let this kid come in those games just to add to his playing time. To summarize in a "cliche" way the Red's now posses a true "diamond in the rough".

GAC
03-11-2007, 06:52 AM
So Adam is suffering from acute Narronitis. Lets hope it's not terminal.

jojo
03-11-2007, 09:11 AM
Jumping the gun a little bit there Dunn arent we? I mean we are all impressed with what Josh has been able to do.... but Dunn just said that Hamilton is better than Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr, Ryan Howard etc.

C'mon now....Dunn DOES know defense.... :cool:

jojo
03-11-2007, 09:17 AM
Considering this is all Adam Dunn has seen from the guy... his assessment at this point is probably right (being technical). Adam has seen Pujols, Bonds, etc... and none of those guys have those kind of numbers when Adam Dunn has seen them. Right or wrong?


Considering Dunn's OPS is about .480 greater than Hamilton's at this point in spring training, I'd guess Dunn really doesn't consider Hamilton one of the greatest he has ever seen....

Redhook
03-11-2007, 10:20 AM
Isn't this quote from Dunn a couple of weeks old before Hamilton played any games for the Reds? I'm pretty sure this quote from Dunn has nothing to do with the "present" Hamilton. I believe it was from when Dunn saw him 4 or 5 years ago.

membengal
03-11-2007, 10:39 AM
...or someone is allowed to have an opinion on a subject without having an agenda ;)

My post to edabbs was with a gentle laugh, krono, you just couldn't hear it through the computer. I love edabbs' defense of deno, and happen to share the opinion that deno belongs on the team. I don't think the final position should come down to deno or hamilton, if it were my team, Conine wouldn't be on it. edabbs and I are in the same place on that, I think.

Not trying to get in his kitchen at all...

RedlegJake
03-11-2007, 11:39 AM
Okay. Griffey, Dunn, Freel and Conine are locks and Hamilton MUST be kept at this point - so Deno to Louisville is likely, and the smartest move, imo. Fair has nothing to do with it - its business, period. Deno's part of the PU which protects his chances in the rules on options. Here's the OF: a guy who runs into walls, old ladies and other outfielders; an aging injury plagued star; an aged veteran whose role is off the bench; and a guy who looks like a superstar on the comeback but has been off for 4 years and finally one slugger who can be counted on to play all the time. I'd say 4 out of 5 are greater than usual risks for injury so having Deno is Louisville is huge insurance AND it allows him to play every day to stay sharp. I really hope the Reds don't trade him or Freel. He will play a lot this year for the Reds. I'd bank on it.

Matt700wlw
03-11-2007, 11:46 AM
Dunn used to say similar things about Austin Kearns.

I've said if Hamilton pans out, he'll make us all forget about Austin Kearns.

I hope I'm right.

Shaggy Sanchez
03-11-2007, 11:49 AM
I've said if Hamilton pans out, he'll make us all forget about Austin Kearns.

I hope I'm right.

Although if he does pan out how nice would it have been to see Dunn, Hamilton, and Kearns in the OF.

Matt700wlw
03-11-2007, 11:50 AM
Although if he does pan out how nice would it have been to see Dunn, Hamilton, and Kearns in the OF.

Then there'd only be 1 defensive liability :D

Cedric
03-11-2007, 12:01 PM
I'm fine with Deno/Freel and not having Kearns around. Baseball is entertainment to me and that guy wasn't fun to watch.

Wheelhouse
03-11-2007, 12:16 PM
Sounds like someone's grumpy that Deno is batting .179 while accumulating the most plate appearances of any player so far this spring...

Owwie.

westofyou
03-11-2007, 12:22 PM
Next 2 page thread on Dunn's opinion.

Dunn says Sonic is the best fast food he's ever ate...

PuffyPig
03-11-2007, 12:24 PM
Your English teacher called Adam. It's ... "The best player I have even seen". :D

GAC, your spelling teacher called. It's "The best player I have ever seen"

TOBTTReds
03-11-2007, 12:36 PM
Does anyone remember Kent Mercker saying Milton would win 20 games last year based off of how he was throwing in spring. Not comparing, just mentioning.

NOTE: Don't hire Mercker for a front office job anytime soon. I hope Dunn is right on.

KronoRed
03-11-2007, 01:30 PM
Next 2 page thread on Dunn's opinion.

Dunn says Sonic is the best fast food he's ever ate...

Followed by a rush of Cincy people to find where a Sonic even is in this area :D

edabbs44
03-11-2007, 01:38 PM
My post to edabbs was with a gentle laugh, krono, you just couldn't hear it through the computer. I love edabbs' defense of deno, and happen to share the opinion that deno belongs on the team. I don't think the final position should come down to deno or hamilton, if it were my team, Conine wouldn't be on it. edabbs and I are in the same place on that, I think.

Not trying to get in his kitchen at all...

http://ecece.com/slides/true.jpg

;)

RedsBaron
03-11-2007, 01:48 PM
I love edabbs' defense of deno, and happen to share the opinion that deno belongs on the team. I don't think the final position should come down to deno or hamilton, if it were my team, Conine wouldn't be on it.

I agree.:thumbup:

Ravenlord
03-11-2007, 02:19 PM
i think Dunn may be alluding to Hamilton being the singly most talented athlete he's every seen...not that Hamilton is the best baseball player he's ever seen.

creek14
03-11-2007, 02:34 PM
Followed by a rush of Cincy people to find where a Sonic even is in this area :D
Middletown.
Carrollton.
Maineville.

Razor Shines
03-11-2007, 02:36 PM
Next 2 page thread on Dunn's opinion.

Dunn says Sonic is the best fast food he's ever ate...

Well what he meant was that Sonic has the potential to be the best, but I know that he still views Taco Bell as the best as of right now. But maybe if Sonic works a little harder they could be the best.

paintmered
03-11-2007, 02:38 PM
So true and freaking hysterical. :laugh: :thumbup:

:nono: :nono: :nono:

Laughter is not tolerated. Next time you are gone for a month.











;)

edabbs44
03-11-2007, 02:44 PM
i think Dunn may be alluding to Hamilton being the singly most talented athlete he's every seen...not that Hamilton is the best baseball player he's ever seen.

I guess the confusion is due to him saying best baseball player and not most talented athlete.

;)

vaticanplum
03-11-2007, 02:48 PM
Why are so many people telling me NOT to get excited about Josh Hamilton? Yes, I recognize hyperbole when I see it, and yes, I know that A DRUG ADDICT WILL NOT CHANGE JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE HIM (thanks Mama). But everything that's happened for him since he's joined the Reds has been golden. His talent is indisputable; he also appears to be working very hard, he's excited to play the game, and his timing appears good. The sun is out and I want a baseball player to get excited about. I don't really feel like checking myself here.

If he fails to meet expectations, I'll deal with it, yo. We all will. This team will let every single one of us down at some point this season...that's true for any team, even a 95-win one. That's what you sign up for as a baseball fan. Why not temper all that disappointment with something rad? If I'm going to be let down by something, it might as well be something with such great potential, if that makes sense.

creek14
03-11-2007, 02:49 PM
I can't wait til the season starts so everyone can get back to complaining about Narron's line-up construction.

KronoRed
03-11-2007, 02:50 PM
Middletown.
Carrollton.
Maineville.

All 20+ miles away, not driving that far for fried food ;)

KronoRed
03-11-2007, 02:50 PM
I can't wait til the season starts so everyone can get back to complaining about Narron's line-up construction.

..and Dunn's bat avg :devil:

Chip R
03-11-2007, 02:57 PM
I wonder if this thread would have so many comments if Brandon Phillips had said the same thing.

edabbs44
03-11-2007, 03:14 PM
I wonder if this thread would have so many comments if Brandon Phillips had said the same thing.

Dunn is one of the faces of the franchise. Phillips is not.

That probably has something to do with it.

Cedric
03-11-2007, 04:10 PM
Dunn is one of the faces of the franchise. Phillips is not.

That probably has something to do with it.

Dude it's just baseball.

Chip R
03-11-2007, 05:21 PM
Dunn is one of the faces of the franchise. Phillips is not.

That probably has something to do with it.


So Dunn's opinion has more or less validity than anyone else's since he's a "face"?

I personally can't take any player's opinion at face value. They are ballplayers, not scouts or GMs or coaches. I'd put a lot more value on that statement if it came from Narron or Dent or Wayne or Bill Wood than I would from a player. If the players had their say, the team would have their cronies on it no matter how bad they performed. Dunn has an opinion like everyone else. If he thinks Josh is the best he's seen, that's fine with me. But I don't think he's watched a lot of baseball. Especially of one of his teammates when he played for SEA.

edabbs44
03-11-2007, 05:40 PM
So Dunn's opinion has more or less validity than anyone else's since he's a "face"?

I personally can't take any player's opinion at face value. They are ballplayers, not scouts or GMs or coaches. I'd put a lot more value on that statement if it came from Narron or Dent or Wayne or Bill Wood than I would from a player. If the players had their say, the team would have their cronies on it no matter how bad they performed. Dunn has an opinion like everyone else. If he thinks Josh is the best he's seen, that's fine with me. But I don't think he's watched a lot of baseball. Especially of one of his teammates when he played for SEA.

Not validity...meaning. If Dunn said that Narron is a jerk and has no business being in professional baseball, would it mean more than if Chad Moeller said it? And if Moeller did say it, do you think that it would have made the paper?

lollipopcurve
03-11-2007, 06:00 PM
Why are so many people telling me NOT to get excited about Josh Hamilton? Yes, I recognize hyperbole when I see it, and yes, I know that A DRUG ADDICT WILL NOT CHANGE JUST BECAUSE YOU LOVE HIM (thanks Mama). But everything that's happened for him since he's joined the Reds has been golden. His talent is indisputable; he also appears to be working very hard, he's excited to play the game, and his timing appears good. The sun is out and I want a baseball player to get excited about. I don't really feel like checking myself here.

If he fails to meet expectations, I'll deal with it, yo. We all will. This team will let every single one of us down at some point this season...that's true for any team, even a 95-win one. That's what you sign up for as a baseball fan. Why not temper all that disappointment with something rad? If I'm going to be let down by something, it might as well be something with such great potential, if that makes sense.

great stuff, vp

Roy Tucker
03-12-2007, 10:51 AM
:nono: :nono: :nono:

Laughter is not tolerated. Next time you are gone for a month.



An outbreak of rampant ambient jocularity?

Be warned. Your brain may no longer be the boss. If you are beginning to doubt what I am saying, you are probably hallucinating.

paintmered
03-12-2007, 11:18 AM
An outbreak of rampant ambient jocularity?

Be warned. Your brain may no longer be the boss. If you are beginning to doubt what I am saying, you are probably hallucinating.

I've suggested all along that spring training is one big hallucination. Can hallucinations last several weeks? At this rate, I wouldn't mind if it lasts through November.

jojo
03-12-2007, 11:32 AM
I've suggested all along that spring training is one big hallucination. Can hallucinations last several weeks? At this rate, I wouldn't mind if it lasts through November.

Hallucinations in and of themselves aren't necesarily bad.....hallucinations are only a real problem when they motivate you do to something really dumb....

paintmered
03-12-2007, 11:43 AM
Hallucinations in and of themselves aren't necesarily bad.....hallucinations are only a real problem when they motivate you do to something really dumb....

Like trade away pitching.

TRF
03-12-2007, 12:17 PM
or thinking Juan Castro needs a multi year contract.

chettt
03-12-2007, 01:10 PM
What if:
Dunner is right. Will he be willing to surrender his position to Hamilton? Move to first base. Then, be traded in the off-season,because Votto will be ready. Creating more money to be spent on pitching.

KronoRed
03-12-2007, 01:56 PM
Why would he nedd to do that? 2 other OF spots out there.

chettt
03-12-2007, 07:38 PM
Being a defensive liability, might have something to do with it!

texasdave
03-12-2007, 07:57 PM
Being a defensive liability, might have something to do with it!

Dunn came into camp saying he was going to place a greater emphasis on defense. He is a good enough athlete to be more than adequate in LF. Let's see how that pans out.

GAC
03-12-2007, 08:17 PM
I personally can't take any player's opinion at face value. They are ballplayers, not scouts or GMs or coaches.

Solid statement. Can I amend it a little more to also include the fans, who are also not scouts or GMs or coaches. Dunn has as much right to an opinion as anybody else. I don't know why some make such a big deal of it? Way too much over analysis sometimes.

GAC
03-12-2007, 08:22 PM
I can't wait til the season starts so everyone can get back to complaining about Narron's line-up construction.

They aren't waiting for the season. I'm amazed at how many are already doing so with spring training games, where you're basically trying to give everyone playing time, get a "look-see" at various ballplayers (like a Hamilton), and just try to get to the regular season without any major injuries. Line-up construction is not a top priority in the spring for the most part.

texasdave
03-12-2007, 08:35 PM
They aren't waiting for the season. I'm amazed at how many are already doing so with spring training games, where you're basically trying to give everyone playing time, get a "look-see" at various ballplayers (like a Hamilton), and just try to get to the regular season without any major injuries. Line-up construction is not a top priority in the spring for the most part.

Fans need to get their work in too. :)

Betterread
03-12-2007, 10:02 PM
I think its very magnanimous of Dunn (the Reds' main identity player, arguably) to give such a big compliment to a minor leaguer. I think it will encourage Hamilton as he is actually only a little younger than Dunn. This is an example of Dunn's subtle leadership and I applaud it and hope to see more of it.
I also think that it is not only intended to be motivational. Hamilton has a feel for the game (I know that many people will laugh at this - but certain players just know when a certain adjustment or certain approach is not only merited, but essential) that Dunn wishes he had. Dunn is a freakish, special type of athlete, but he is slow to learn a lot of baseball subtleties (like taking efficient fielding paths to the ball, or situational hitting). I think that he wants to become a better player, and he is observing things Hamilton does with admiration. Perhaps Hamilton can help Dunn become a better player, odd as it may seem.