Rangers considering moving Hamilton to right
February, 3, 2009
First Michael Young, and next Josh Hamilton? As Jim Reeves writes, Hamilton just might switch positions this spring:
The Texas Rangers might not be through moving All-Star players to new positions.
Josh Hamilton, come on down.
"Hamilton has got to go to right [field]," club president Nolan Ryan said last week. "He's too big to be a center fielder. It's too demanding on him.
"We put him in right to help save him. Then we put [Nelson] Cruz or [Marlon] Byrd in center."
Ryan said he and manager Ron Washington haven't talked about a timetable for the move, but it probably will come sometime this spring.
Hamilton isn't likely to demand a trade or refuse to change positions, like Michael Young initially did when asked to switch from shortstop to third base, but we're talking apples and oranges here. Still, Hamilton is quite happy in center.
In town last week for the Rangers' annual winter Sluggers of the West banquet and Fan Fest, Hamilton said his weight has edged up to 240 pounds (a chiseled 240), but that he feels faster than ever.
Still, anything that keeps Hamilton from wearing down, risking injury and in the lineup daily is a smart move.
That said, whether the move weakens the Rangers defensively depends on who's playing center. Byrd can hold his own. I'm not certain that Cruz, a big man himself, is an everyday center fielder.
One more thing to consider: The Rangers could be thinking ahead a bit here and opening up center for fast-approaching rookie Julio Borbon.