This, unfortunately, happens to be final exam week, which probably doesn't mean real great things as far as blocking off the time needed to write the posts I want to write, but let's see how it all plays out:
● Josh Hamilton is invoking some damage control after last week's "misconstrued" comments that, while true in a literal sense, lacked finesse, and ticked a portion of the fan base off due to his seeming lack of gratitude for the Rangers' efforts to keep him on the straight and narrow:
"If it does go to free agency, the first place I'm coming is here," Hamilton said. "If I owe anything, it's that. My loyalty is here. This is where I've been. This is where my family's been, so obviously I'd love to stay here more than anywhere else. So first of all, they get a chance to do what they need to do to keep me here.
"What I owe is 100 percent on the field. My employee-employer relationship is to give 100 percent in the clubhouse, to the fans, everything I've done while I've been here. That's what I owe to the Rangers. I've done those things and I'm going to continue to do those things. That's what I mean by it."
And, of course, Hamilton's right. That's one reality of this story. The other reality of this story is that it, like every story that preceded it and every story that is still waiting to be written, will wither away, and I'm inclined to believe this latest torrent of Hamilton talk is going to fade back out within the next 72 hours. I say that because there's no logical reason to believe that the contract talks themselves -- and all of the melodrama arising from those talks -- are going to emerge as a distraction in camp, which is one of the very few risks actually in play right now.
Within the next week, we can resume our perpetual worrying about Hamilton killing himself chasing down a deep fly ball. Until then, though, we only have to vaguely concern ourselves with discord-creating distractions and mild workout-induced muscle sprains, which is good ... until we get sick of it.
● Behind the paywall, Evan Grant writes that Elvis Andrus must find a mental edge if he is to ascend to stardom. Jeff Wilson also has an Elvis Andrus column up. T.R. Sullivan has his Morning Nine from Surprise up, and mentions in his afternoon notes that former Rangers closer Akinori Otsuka stopped by camp yesterday. Drew Davison talks to Tommy Mendonca about transitioning from third base to behind the plate. Richard Durrett says that there's a center field competition brewing this spring between Craig Gentry, Leonys Martin, and Julio Borbon.
● Gil LeBreton writes about Matt Harrison still holding down a projected rotation spot in spite of the Rangers' purported flirtations with Roy Oswalt, who apparently netted a guaranteed offer from the Cardinals worth only $5 million.
● Ron Washington delivered his annual spring training speech yesterday. Lefty Joe Beimel has been shut down for 2-3 days with elbow stiffness, and may already be falling behind the rest of the pack gunning for what may be only one left-handed relief spot on the Opening Day roster. Mike Napoli ran the bases at 60-70 percent on Sunday, and proclaimed that his injured ankle felt good. Yu Darvish is slated for a 10-minute live BP session today. Joel Zumaya blew out his elbow again. Bengie Molina has retired.