Collin Cowgill got to know Josh Hamilton as an Angels teammate and friend the last two seasons after watching the former American League most valuable player star for the Texas Rangers.
So Cowgill knows what he will do in the outfield if Hamilton steps into the batter’s box again for the Rangers against the Angels.
“I’ll be on my toes,” Cowgill, laughing, said before Saturday night’s game against the Rangers at Angel Stadium.
The Angels used a three-run sixth inning to rally past the Rangers for a 4-1 victory.
Left-hander C.J. Wilson pitched 52/3 innings and designated hitter C.J. Cron delivered a two-run, bases-loaded single as the Angels won their third in a row to get back to .500 at 9-9.
But Hamilton’s situation, like the gray clouds that passed above the stadium for much of the game, continues to hover over the Angels.
The Angels and Rangers have yet to make official the trade that would send Hamilton back to the team for which he enjoyed his greatest success.
Team officials declined to comment. Manager Mike Scioscia said he could provide no update on Hamilton’s situation.
“I think we’ve talked to exhaustion about where it is,” Scioscia said, “and it’s going to run its own course and we’ll just see where it ends up.”
A person familiar with trade but not authorized to speak publicly about it said the Angels and Rangers have agreed to all terms, and the deal was being reviewed by the players’ union Saturday. If the union signs off on the trade, it would then go to the commissioner’s office for approval.
No other players are expected to be part of the deal for Hamilton, who is coming off shoulder surgery and has not played this season after reporting a relapse of substance abuse to Major League Baseball.
The Rangers will pay less than $7 million of the remaining $83 million left on Hamilton’s contract, the Dallas Morning News reported.
Hamilton will return to the team for which he starred before signing a five-year, $125-million free-agent deal with the Angels after the 2012 season.
He was the American League MVP in 2010 and helped the Rangers reach the World Series that season and in 2011.
His time with the Angels was mostly marked by struggles, but now he could be in a position to once again hurt them.
Hamilton batted .303 with 14 home runs and 55 RBIs in 74 games against the Angels. But players said they would be happy to see Hamilton playing again.
“Just seeing him back on the baseball field will be well worth it,” infielder Grant Green said.
Left-hander Hector Santiago faced the left-handed Hamilton during exhibition games but not during the regular season. He said he got the opportunity to speak with and study the strengths and weaknesses of a teammate who hit 43 homers and drove in 128 runs in the final season of his first stint with the Rangers.
“Hopefully, he’ll get back over there and have a great career the rest of his career,” Santiago said, adding with a chuckle, “Just not against us. As long as it’s not against us, or against me.”
Cowgill, outfielder Kole Calhoun and third baseman David Freese had lunch with Hamilton this month when the Angels played at Houston. Freese said that Hamilton appeared “ready to go.”
Cowgill said he did not expect Hamilton to try to prove anything against his former Angels teammates or the organization.
“He’s a professional,” Cowgill said, “and he will handle it professionally.”
Staff writer Mike DiGiovanna contributed to this report.