Results tagged ‘ Vladimir Guerrero ’

Shooting for a ring — and a trip to D.C.

I’m known for having good timing, especially in center field, but it let me down for once when I got hurt and couldn’t go to St. Louis to play in the All-Star Game. That was terrible timing.

I was so excited when I was selected to the American League All-Star team. Unfortunately, my body just didn’t hold up for me after I ran into those walls at Dodger Stadium and San Francisco. I remember the day when it finally got to me, and I knew I was in trouble. It was after that game in Arizona on June 27 when I sat at my locker for the longest time, in a daze. I couldn’t move. My groin was killing me. That was the day it blew up on me. I tried to play on, but it never really was right after that.

There were several reasons why it was so disappointing not to be in St. Louis. First of all, I appreciated all the fans voting for me when I came in fourth in the balloting, just missing out on the starting lineup. And I really felt good when my fellow players put me on the team by giving me the second most votes of all the American League outfielders, behind Jason Bay. In fact, I got the fourth most votes of all the players in the league. That was tremendous, feeling all that respect from my peers.

As for the All-Star Game, the presence of Barack Obama, our first African-American President, made it something really special to me. He was in the clubhouse shaking everybody’s hand, and I was home with my family in Texas – not that there was anything wrong with that. It’s always good to have some time with the family. But I hated that I missed out on meeting Barack Obama.

When I was growing up in Arkansas, we’d be out messing around and you’d hear a kid say, “I want to grow up to be the President.” And we’d say, “Hey, you’re black. No way you’re going to be President. Are you out of your mind?”

Now here it is, happening in our lifetime. It’s an amazing thing to see. And I was supposed to be there in St. Louis, playing in front of the President and meeting him. But it didn’t happen.

I’m getting better with this adductor strain on my right side. What this does, as I recover, is make me want to get to the World Series and win it even more than ever, if that’s possible.

Now I have a double goal: win the World Series and go to the White House with my team and meet the President there. We could talk some hoops, maybe play “horse,” shoot around a little. I know basketball is his game, and I could play the game in my time.

To be there with my teammates, after winning a World Series, that would top meeting Barack Obama at the All-Star Game. That would be so cool, for all of us. So I’m looking at it as an added incentive to go out and win a World Series. That would be the best of both worlds. We win the World Series, and meet Barack Obama at the White House.

Hey, it can happen. We’ve got a ton of talent on this team. Watching how our offense came through without Vladimir Guerrero and me in the lineup, against the Yankees and in the first game after the break against the A’s, that’s impressive. We’ve got a lot of guys who can swing the bat, and if our pitching comes together the way it can . . . look out.

The Angels could rock all the way through October, to Washington, D.C. and the house of President Obama and the First Lady.

Missing All-Star Game a real pain in the adductor

Man, this really hurts. And I’m not just talking about the adductor strain, which I’m learning all about from our medical staff. The timing of it really hurts. There’s no good time to get injured, of course, but I was really looking forward to playing in the All-Star Game in St. Louis. Nobody would have had a better time than me and my family and friends. 

Where I grew up, in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, the Cardinals were everybody’s team. I learned the game from my granddad, who watched baseball every day. I had family and friends coming to St. Louis to enjoy the whole show with me, and now I can’t play. It’s disappointing. Very disappointing. I still have the tickets, and they can go to all the functions if they want, but it won’t be the same.

I really wanted to be in my first All-Star Game representing the Angels, representing Arkansas, and I’m on the DL. That was not my plan at all. I’m just very sorry this happened the way it did. I appreciate all the votes, all the fans who wanted me to play in the game. That means a lot to me.

I knew I had a problem on Tuesday night when I couldn’t beat out a throw on a double play ball. I just couldn’t get a burst down the line. I came in after the game and was feeling bad, and finally told the trainers. It’s been bothering me for a while. Remember a while back, when we were in Arizona, and I sat at my locker for the longest time after the game, kind of daydreaming? My leg was killing me that day.

On Wednesday they wanted to put me on the DL right away, but I was fighting it. I was hoping it would come around quickly, but this morning it was still pretty sore. Every time the trainers touch it, it’s sore.

That’s just not in my DNA, going on the DL. It took a broken ankle in 2005 to get me on it with the Twins. We haven’t talked yet about the rehab plan, but I might have to stay here during the break and have it worked on. We’ll see how that goes. The big thing, the most important thing, is being healthy for the final two months. I don’t want to miss a game, an inning, down the stretch. We’re in a race for this division, and that’s what matters most to all of us.

The timeline for coming back is two to three weeks. Hopefully, it’s not that long.

I know I have to be smarter sometimes about going after balls and running into walls, but it’s in my blood. I’m a competitor. I’ve run into a wall in a 10-zero game. The one in San Francisco on June 15, when we were leading 8-zero, I probably should have played that one off the wall. But the one at Dodger Stadium on May 22, I had no regrets about that one. I caught that ball, and we won a close game. It goes with the turf. Besides, I know how to protect myself, how to cushion the blow. I’ve gone into enough walls by now.

It will be tough watching us play, along with big Vladimir Guerrero, who’s also out for a while with the muscle strain behind his left knee. But this team has a lot of heart. We battle. Most of the time, no matter how far down we are, we’re going to come back. We’ve had a lot of late-inning comebacks, rallies. That’s one thing about this club — we’re going to keep battling, keep banging.

Once again, before I sign off, I want to thank all the people out there who voted for me for the All-Star Game. I’ve been blessed to play for some great fans, and I value that relationship tremendously.

I’ll be back, ready to go. There’s still a lot of season left, and we plan to make it memorable.

 

    

 

L.A. to Arkansas to Anaheim . . . all good

I went home to Arkansas on a private plane after the game yesterday at Dodger Stadium to be with family attend services for my grandmother. That’s why I wasn’t able to hang around and talk to reporters, which I enjoy doing as part of my job.

I know everyone was curious about how I felt after crashing into the wall to make that catch on Matt Kemp’s ball, and I was pretty sore. But a massage helped me out, and I actually feel pretty good today. So I called Mike Scioscia, our manager, and Ron Roenicke, our bench coach, and told them I’d better be in the lineup against the White Sox.

My grandmother — Zelma Louise Hunter — passed last Saturday. This is my dad’s mom, and he’s taking it pretty hard. She was 94 years old and lived a good, long life. She went to the hospital 10 days ago and they told her she had a week to live.

I got back to Pine Bluff last night, going solo. I hung out with my family. I haven’t seen some of them for 10, 20 years. I’m glad I was able to get back there and be there for her services. She was a wonderful person, and she’ll be missed.

OK, so here I am, back on the job. I’m going to take batting practice and get ready to play. I didn’t think I’d feel like this after it happened. I was trying to catch my breath after the catch. My body spasmed up. I was trying to ball up before I hit the wall, turn and hit it with my back, but my elbow hit me in the ribs and took my breath away.

The whole game after that I had short breath. But that’s what I do. I was asked, very respectfully, if I’m a little crazy to make plays like that, but I’ve got to catch that ball. It’s irritating to let a ball fall. I’ve been running into walls my whole career. If I was gun-shy, it would have happened my first year. Only in Boston will I let it go off the wall — you don’t want to run into that thing. Everywhere else it’s padded out there, and it’s like Ray Lewis hitting you. You know how much I love football.

I came out of the game yesterday a little early, in the seventh inning. My quad tightened up a little, but the massage I got after the game straightened that out. I’m fine.

I’m excited to be back. The great Vladimir Guerrero comes back tonight, and that’s another big weapon in our lineup. We’ve been playing pretty well lately, showing our toughness, I think. The guys have come together and played some good baseball. It’s a long season, and I love this team.

It’s great to be back, and my family’s all right. It’s all good. I’m ready to get back out there and get after it.      

On to Boston — and stayin’ alive

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What can you say after a game like that? It was intense, start to finish. We went at it toe to toe with the Red Sox and came back strong after they dropped the hammer on us early with that Jason Bay three-run bomb in the first. I think our guys showed a lot of heart, and we’re going to need everything we’ve got in Boston to get back in this series.

So much happened in this second game, I don’t even know where to start. Bottom line, the big bombs killed us — Bay first, and then J.D. Drew. Bay, I guess he’s the new Manny. He’s swinging the bat like Manny Ramirez in this series. Frankie Rodriguez had 62 saves for us this year, and I’ll take my chances with him out there any time. But Drew hits a two-run bomb off K-Rod, and what can you do? Baseball’s a crazy game.

Hey, as long as we have a breath, we’ve got a shot. They haven’t won anything yet. It takes three games to win this thing, and they’re going to have to earn it. I think we showed tonight the kind of character we have. We’re going to keep fighting, I can tell you that much.

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You probably want to know about my knee, the left one. We’ll be treating it, and even though it’s sore now, I’ll be out there. I’m old school. This is October, and this is what you live for as a baseball player.

It was all adrenaline when I reacted the way I did on that call at first base in the third inning. We were making a comeback, we had two guys on, and I thought I beat the throw from the shortstop, Alex Cora. The call went against me, and I got excited and jumped up and came down on the knee wrong. I was being intense, going all out — and in the heat of the moment, sometimes you get upset like that. I’m not going to apologize or call it a stupid thing to do. Man, when you’re out there competing, you’re throwing everything you’ve got into it. That’s all I was doing.

We were taking care of business, being patient with Daisuke Matsuzaka, getting guys on base, stirring things up. I got an RBI single in the first inning after Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero singled, and I was trying to do that again in the third when I got thrown out on that call. In the fifth inning, I hit a bullet to left field for another RBI after Tex and Vladdy walked.

Those two guys were great tonight, getting on base all night long, trying to get us started. It’s a pleasure to play with guys like that who really know how to play the game right. This team is loaded with talent, and it’d be a crying shame for it to end too soon.

In my last at-bat in the ninth against Papelbon, I was trying to get on base to get it started. That’s why I dropped the bunt. It didn’t work out, but in that situation, down two runs, we needed a baserunner. Papelbon’s good. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

Some of our guys are trying a little too hard, trying to do too much. They need to relax when we get to Boston. I’ll have a talk with Howie Kendrick, like always. He’s a great kid, with a tremendous future in this game. He had a rough night, but he’ll bounce back. He’s strong. I know how that is — when you’re young, you want it so bad, controlling all that adrenaline isn’t easy.

Right now, I’m exhausted. This was intense baseball, all night long. But we’ll be ready to roll on Sunday night. We’ve played some great baseball in Fenway Park this year, and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. We’ve still got a heartbeat. We’re still a dangerous team.

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On to Boston — and stayin alive

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What can you say after a game like that? It was intense, start to finish. We went at it toe to toe with the Red Sox and came back strong after they dropped the hammer on us early with that Jason Bay three-run bomb in the first. I think our guys showed a lot of heart, and we’re going to need everything we’ve got in Boston to get back in this series.

So much happened in this second game, I don’t even know where to start. Bottom line, the big bombs killed us — Bay first, and then J.D. Drew. Bay, I guess he’s the new Manny. He’s swinging the bat like Manny Ramirez in this series. Frankie Rodriguez had 62 saves for us this year, and I’ll take my chances with him out there any time. But Drew hits a two-run bomb off K-Rod, and what can you do? Baseball’s a crazy game.

Hey, as long as we have a breath, we’ve got a shot. They haven’t won anything yet. It takes three games to win this thing, and they’re going to have to earn it. I think we showed tonight the kind of character we have. We’re going to keep fighting, I can tell you that much.

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You probably want to know about my knee, the left one. We’ll be treating it, and even though it’s sore now, I’ll be out there. I’m old school. This is October, and this is what you live for as a baseball player.

It was all adrenaline when I reacted the way I did on that call at first base in the third inning. We were making a comeback, we had two guys on, and I thought I beat the throw from the shortstop, Alex Cora. The call went against me, and I got excited and jumped up and came down on the knee wrong. I was being intense, going all out — and in the heat of the moment, sometimes you get upset like that. I’m not going to apologize or call it a stupid thing to do. Man, when you’re out there competing, you’re throwing everything you’ve got into it. That’s all I was doing.

We were taking care of business, being patient with Daisuke Matsuzaka, getting guys on base, stirring things up. I got an RBI single in the first inning after Mark Teixeira and Vladimir Guerrero singled, and I was trying to do that again in the third when I got thrown out on that call. In the fifth inning, I hit a bullet to left field for another RBI after Tex and Vladdy walked.

Those two guys were great tonight, getting on base all night long, trying to get us started. It’s a pleasure to play with guys like that who really know how to play the game right. This team is loaded with talent, and it’d be a crying shame for it to end too soon.

In my last at-bat in the ninth against Papelbon, I was trying to get on base to get it started. That’s why I dropped the bunt. It didn’t work out, but in that situation, down two runs, we needed a baserunner. Papelbon’s good. You’ve got to give credit where it’s due.

Some of our guys are trying a little too hard, trying to do too much. They need to relax when we get to Boston. I’ll have a talk with Howie Kendrick, like always. He’s a great kid, with a tremendous future in this game. He had a rough night, but he’ll bounce back. He’s strong. I know how that is — when you’re young, you want it so bad, controlling all that adrenaline isn’t easy.

Right now, I’m exhausted. This was intense baseball, all night long. But we’ll be ready to roll on Sunday night. We’ve played some great baseball in Fenway Park this year, and I don’t see why we can’t do it again. We’ve still got a heartbeat. We’re still a dangerous team.

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Time to get busy, not down

hunterreverseswinging550x25.jpgThis one was hard to take. I felt like we were ready to take it to the Red Sox, to play our game, and we didn’t get it done. Jon Lester was tough, man. Sometimes you have to give a guy credit. He was dealing some nasty stuff, and we couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it.

Big John Lackey was on his game, too. John deserved better. We should have scored more runs for him early when we had chances. It’s frustrating for everybody, but we have to get it out of our system and come out with the right attitude for Game 2 on Friday. You’ve got to have amnesia in this game. Hopefully, some of the younger guys can let this one go. This is still new to some of the guys, and they have to come out and play with the same fire and energy and confidence they had all season.

Maybe it helps, having the day off between games. Maybe we can use it to get rid of this game. We have to do that. We have too many good athletes in this room to get down on ourselves. We played great baseball all season, and there’s no reason why we can’t pick it up against Daisuke Matsuzaka and get back in this series.

I feel good having Ervin Santana out there for us. He’s been lights out all year. This kid has great stuff, some of the best stuff in the game. We all have confidence in him, and we’re going to get busy and get him some run support.

In the playoffs, one thing you can’t do is let something take the edge away from you. That might have happened when Vladimir Guerrero got thrown out trying to go to third when I hit that blooper over first base. He didn’t know it was going to fall in, so he hesitated for a second. I was surprised he kept going, but he was trying to be aggressive, make something happen.

hunterfollowthrough275x375.jpgVladdy is a great player, an all-time great player. He’ll bounce back. You don’t do what he’s done over his career without having the ability to shake something like this off. He was swinging the bat good, hitting some shots, so that’s a good sign. We have to focus on the positives now, not get caught up in the negatives. That can take you down if you’re not careful.

I was saying before the game that this reminds me of high school football, Friday night lights. I had all that adrenaline going for this game — I didn’t need any coffee, I can tell you that. My eyes were huge tonight. The key in big games like this is to use all that energy to your advantage, to take it to the other team. You’ve got to play the game with all your heart and soul, and you can’t be second-guessing yourself about things. Go with your instincts, let it flow.

We know who we’re facing here. These guys, the Red Sox, are the champions. You can’t just play them. You’ve got to beat those guys, take it to them. They’re not going to let you have it.

I think this was a good experience for the young guys, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar, Mike Napoli. We’ve got veterans, but we’ve also got these young guys, and they’re learning about themselves. They got the first game in, and now they can go out and play. These guys have a ton of talent. We saw that all season. They’ve just got to trust their instincts and let all that talent flow.

We’re coming to play in Game 2. Friday night lights. We’ve got to go after it with everything we’ve got. We’ve got to take it to those guys.

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