Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels recently joined SportsDay’s Evan Grant, Barry Horn and Kevin Sherrington to talk all things baseball on the Upon Further Review podcast.
Here are some of the highlights.
Grant: “I think everybody’s been surprised by the fact that Josh (Hamilton) has gotten out there on the field two weeks after surgery on his knee and has been able to play what would amount to two full game out there. Do you see him playing consecutive games, playing a big part in this Anaheim series this weekend. Where does he stand in your mind?
Daniels: “We’re going to take it day-by-day right now. He’s always been a freak, really, in every sense of the word. He’s a freak talent, he takes four years off from baseball and comes back as the best player in the game. Has surgery, is pinch-hitting a week later, is playing nine innings in a start, two weeks later. These are just things you don’t normally see and in a lot of ways the normal rules don’t apply. The normal expectation don’t apply to Josh. He’s feeling good physically, when he’s locked in and has his timing down, he’s still capable of doing some pretty unique things. He had some pretty good at-bats (Monday). He played very good defense in left field. Made some very good plays. We’re just going to take it day by day. … Our hope is that he can play a pretty good role every other game or if he can play back-to-back, that will be great — but we’re just going to take it day-to-day.”
Grant: “… Were you surprised at all by how well he moved (Monday) on that knee?”
Daniels: “A little bit. Again, you’re two and a half weeks post surgery at this point. Especially with that ball down the line — I think in the eighth inning — where he really had to go get it, fully extend it. You’re just not used to seeing those things from a guy so close to surgery. But again, the normal rules typically don’t apply when you’re talking about Josh.”
Sherrington: “Jon, in many ways, this has been a remarkable season. To come as far as y’all have this point, to put yourselves in a position where you were in first place in the division going into the last week of the season — no one would have predicted that in April, May, June, maybe July, August — pretty much the whole year no one would have predicted this would have happened. But let’s just say this. Let’s say that it doesn’t work out here. How are you going to look at this season? Will it be a disappointment?”
Daniels: “You know, Kevin, I think your point on expectations — internally, probably looked at it a little bit differently. That’s not to say — we recognized that we had a lot of question marks coming into the year and even more as we got started. (Yu) Darvish goes down, Derek (Holland) going down. But there was a genuine belief that certain things come together, we kind of keep our head above water early on and the reinforcements would come. You didn’t know that the trades were going to be made, etc., but you felt like there were some guys in the system, certainly the injured starters coming back, that we’re going to get a shot in the arm and if our position-player group stayed healthy, we had a chance.
“We looked at it a little bit differently, so we expected to be here, honestly. Internally, we expected to be in the mix. We didn’t feel like this was a year where there were truly any great, great teams in the American League … some good teams, some very talented teams. From that standpoint we still expect them to get it done. We had to go out on the field and do it here this week. I’ll kind of wait until after the season to reflect on it, but that’s our expectation right now.”