For the second time in a couple of years, Josh Hamilton will return to his old stomping grounds with some angry fans awaiting him.
The scene this time will be "The Big A" in Anaheim and those angry fans will be Angels fans, just a couple of years after the script was reversed. That was when Hamilton returned to Arlington for the first time since signing a big $125 million deal with the Angels in free agency and leaving town with some disparaging remarks toward Arlington's "baseball town" status.
Hamilton said he's not concerning himself with what he might encounter in his first game back in Anaheim since basically being cast away this winter when he wasn't given a locker at the Angels' spring training facility and an admitted drug and alcohol relapse following shoulder surgery.
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"I haven't thought about it once," Hamilton told the Star-Telegram of his return. "I don't know how many times I can say it. When I was there, I did everything I could to be the player they wanted me to be and they expected me to be.
"Once I'm not there anymore, I'm done with that. I haven't thought about it. I've had a lot of other things to think about."
Hamilton, of course, was an AL MVP for the Rangers and was in the running for the award in 2012 — his last season before heading off to the Angels. But his 2012 season ended poorly. For the Angels, he was far from the productive masher he was in his first Texas stint. In his two seasons with the Angels, he was injured and underperformed to his Texas numbers.
In April, he was traded back to Texas with the Angels agreeing to pick up all but $6 million of his remaining $80-plus million over the next three years — essentially a huge coup for Texas.
Hamilton has claimed he doesn't hold grudges, but he also admitted his boo-filled return to Arlington in 2013 hurt him mentally. He says he won't feel the same way about a hate-filled return to Anaheim, and the Rangers will hope he's ready to stick it to his old club and their fans.