Pirates notebook: Hurdle overjoyed for Rangers' Hamilton
Bucs' Hurdle happy for Rangers star Hamilton
Manager Clint Hurdle sent Josh Hamilton a text message, congratulating the Texas Rangers slugger on his four-homer game Tuesday. “I told him I thought they outlawed using a tee in the American League,” Hurdle said Wednesday.
Hurdle was the Rangers' hitting coach in 2010, when Hamilton clubbed 32 homers and was named the AL MVP. But the start of that season was rough for Hamilton, who turned to Hurdle for advice. Hurdle told Hamilton to take the toe tap out of his swing. “It's one of the few times I've challenged a player to change something so dramatically during a season,” Hurdle said.
The first night without the tap, Hamilton went hitless in his first three at-bats and stranded runners on base. Frustrated, Hamilton said he'd give the new swing one more try, and if he didn't get results, he'd put the toe tap back in. “He hit a double off the wall,” Hurdle said.
Ever since, Hamilton has batted without the tap. “He's so physically strong and gifted that when he gets on a streak, it changes games dramatically,” Hurdle said. “It was an honor to work with him for one season. He did make my job easier.”
• Rod Barajas has three walkoff homers in his career, and all three were hit in May. He hopes the two-run shot he hit Tuesday will snap his batting funk. “I've tried wearing different clothes, different watches, using different stalls in the bathroom,” Barajas said. “When I wash my hands, I try to find the right sink that has all the hits in it. I lost track on how many different ones I've tried.” In the end, it came down to Barajas dusting off some batting cage routines from earlier in his career. “I started doing some drills that I haven't done for a while,” he said. “There's a feeling that just hits you. ‘Oh, yeah. This is what I used to do. This is what I used to feel.' When you have those feelings, you try to make sure you remember it.”
• Closer Joel Hanrahan got his first blown save Tuesday by allowing Adam LaRoche's go-ahead homer in the ninth inning. Hanrahan was taken out of the game with two outs after throwing 18 pitches. “There was no need to keep him in there at that point,” Hurdle said.
• Reliever Tony Watson entered Tuesday's game with two outs in the ninth and struck out Roger Bernadina on five pitches. When Barajas homered in the bottom half, Watson got the win — the maximum payout for a brief outing. “Just being efficient with my pitches,” he said.
— Rob Biertempfel
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Chryst a miserable failure at Pitt
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Pouliot scores in NHL debut as Penguins tame Panthers
- Steelers’ Bell, Chiefs’ Charles elevating running back position in NFL
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Jeannette company’s miniature steam engines coveted for decades
- Warning about cop-killer came moments too late
- Steelers notebook: Bell says he’s prepared to test Chiefs defense
- South Fayette football team distributes Steelers tickets to Carlynton, Wilkinsburg
- Minor league report: Other prospects on Penguins’ radar