10/01/10 6:37 PM ET
With Hamilton in fold, Texas tuning up for ALDS
By Sunil Joshi / MLB.com
For Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, it will be another chance to knock off some of the rust that accumulated when he missed nearly a month with two fractured ribs. Hamilton played six innings on Friday for the first time since he injured the ribs on Sept. 4, when he collided with the wall. Hamilton went 0-for-3 in his return -- what was eventually a 5-4 Angels win in 11 innings -- and he elected to play center field. That will change on Saturday, when he serves as the club's designated hitter against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana. The Rangers counter with C.J. Wilson.
"I told [manager Ron Washington] that I'd like to play six innings in center field [Friday]," Hamilton said. "I want to get into game mode. I don't want to DH, sit around and tighten up. I want to be out there moving around."
Prior to the game on Friday, Hamilton said that his ribs felt well, and he laid out his goals.
"It's good," Hamilton said. "It's been awhile but ... I'm not anxious. I know how it feels. It will feel good enough. I want to work on my timing, have good at-bats and not crash into walls."
Even with his timing, Hamilton hasn't hit Santana well in his career. He's 3-for-21 with two doubles. There could be hope, however. Santana wasn't at his best in his most recent appearance, when he allowed 10 hits and four runs in six innings. He's aiming for win No. 18 on Saturday.
Wilson wasn't sharp in his last outing, either, allowing eight hits and six runs in five innings against the Mariners. He said that he'd like to regain his strong form as Texas heads to the postseason. Wilson is slated to start Game 2 of the American League Division Series. After facing Seattle, Wilson said he was pleased with his control.
"Your goal is to go out there and be consistent," Wilson said. "I threw strikes tonight. I didn't walk anybody. I walked one dude. That's obviously near my career best."
Angels: Shields winding down?
With a group of young relievers coming down the pike, the odd man out of the Angels' bullpen could be veteran hurler Scot Shields, the last remaining member of the club's 2002 World Series-winning club.
"I'm just enjoying the last week, sitting around here hanging out with the guys," Shields said prior to the Halos' series opener against the Rangers. "I've had a lot of great memories in my career, and I've made a lot of great friends in the clubhouse."
Shields has made 491 appearances in his Angels career, racking up a 3.18 ERA and 21 saves. But despite his role as one of the club's lock-down relievers, Shields has remained under the radar. He said that he's looking forward to spending time with his family.
"I like to stay out of the limelight," he said. "I feel I had some success here -- and a lot of fun doing it."
"Scot just turned 35," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's still throwing 90, 91 [mph]. He has life in his arm. If you look at his stuff, it's not bad. He's just not as dynamic as he was four, five years ago. He's had a remarkable run."
Rangers: Postseason roster congealing
The Rangers are assembling the roster that they will use in the ALDS. The club has already determined its four starters -- Cliff Lee, Wilson, Colby Lewis and Tommy Hunter, in that order. But Washington has until after the team's regular-season finale to finalize his bullpen and batters.
"We're going to meet Sunday," Washington said. "By then, we'll know what we're going to do."
The Rangers are expected to carry seven relievers, meaning that they can fit 14 batters on the roster. Among the seven bullpen arms, Texas will almost certainly carry closer Neftali Feliz, setup men Darren Oliver, Darren O'Day and Alexei Ogando. Righty Dustin Nippert also appears safe, leaving two relief spots up for grabs.
The Rangers are also trying to determine whether they will carry Chris Davis or Mitch Moreland as their left-handed-hitting first baseman. Davis has been battling a flu bug and hasn't been able to play for a couple days.
"I want to see him, but I can't because he's sick," Washington said.
The Rangers have 21 wins in their final at-bat this season, tied for fourth in the Majors. ... In the Angels' 79 wins, they have a 2.25 ERA (537 2/3 innings, 135 earned runs); in their 81 losses, they have a 6.09 ERA (467 1/3 innings, 316 earned runs).
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.