From Comcast SportsNetBALTIMORE (AP) -- Josh Hamilton expects it will take some time before he realizes the significance of becoming the 16th player in baseball history to hit four home runs in a game.He does, however, appreciate how fortunate he was to be playing baseball at Camden Yards on Tuesday night as a member of the Texas Rangers. Because, before his epic performance against the Baltimore Orioles, Hamilton had to do something even harder than launching a quartet of two-run homers.He needed to save himself from personal ruin.Hamilton went from first-round draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999 to out of baseball altogether because of drug and alcohol addiction.He recovered and returned to the majors in 2007 with Cincinnati, and was traded to the Texas, where he has become a star -- the AL MVP in 2010 -- while still battling his addiction. He had a relapse before this season, but is off to a torrid start.After going 5 for 5 with a career-high eight RBIs and setting an AL record with 18 total bases in the Rangers' 10-3 win, Hamilton reflected on what his life was like before this unforgettable night."I think about what God's done in my life, everything I did to mess it up," he said. "To finally surrender everything and pursue that relationship with Christ on a daily basis and understanding when I don't pursue it, I end up messing up. Understanding that what I'm doing and what God's allowed me to do, coming back from everything I went through and allowing me to play the game at the level I play it, it's pretty amazing to think about."Few players in the game today are playing at Hamilton's level. He's batting .406 and leads the majors with 13 homers and 36 RBIs.That's impressive, but not as mind-blowing as his heroics against the Orioles.Hamilton homered off Jake Arrieta in the first and third innings, added another off Zach Phillips in the seventh and topped it off with a one-for-the-books shot against Darren O'Day. During the last at-bat, Hamilton took a mighty hack and missed, lined a foul into right-field seats and then sent an 0-2 pitch over the center-field wall."Amazing," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Josh came out tonight, and he wasn't going to be denied. I know he can't do it every night, but what you saw tonight, he's capable of it."As he spoke to the media afterward, Hamilton wore a blue T-shirt emblazoned with "BEAST MODE."On this night, he was a beast with the bat."It's like anything else -- you do something good or something incredible happens, it takes a little bit for it to sink in," Hamilton said. "I think when I get away from everybody and I have some time to myself, I think it might then."The last player to hit four home runs in a game was Carlos Delgado on Sept. 25, 2003, for Toronto against Tampa Bay. Two of the 16 players to hit four homers in a game did it before 1900."History was witnessed tonight," Washington said.As he walked to the plate in the eighth inning, Hamilton felt a sense of calm. He had never hit more than two home runs in a game, and he already had three."I just went up like it was any other at-bat because if I don't hit one," Hamilton reasoned, "I've still had a really good night."It got even better after he was circling the bases."I can say that was the worst pitch of my life," O'Day said. "Worst pitch of my career, not of my life. Guy's already got three bombs and I had him 0-2 and I throw it right over the middle. I couldn't have soft-tossed it any better to him. I'd like that pitch back for sure. You can't say enough about the day he had."Nor could Hamilton."Obviously it's, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big league career," he said. "I was saying after I hit two I've never hit three in a game before, and what a blessing that was. Then to hit four is just an awesome feeling, to see how excited my teammates got."It reminds you of when you're in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing."So is his career. Hamilton will become a free agent after this season, but that's something he won't deal with until the proper time."God gives me peace, man. I pray a lot. I want to be where he wants me to be," Hamilton said. "If that's Texas, I love it in Texas. And you know, I take it as far as day-to-day life, a one-day-at-a-time mentality not only for a recovering addict, but that should be for everybody. It's one day at a time really because tomorrow is not promised and yesterday's gone."
BOSTON -- Compared to most high draft picks, Jaylen Brown doesn’t log a ton of minutes for the Boston Celtics.
Playing on an experienced team with legit hopes of making a deep playoff run, rookies seeing limited minutes is a given.
Knowing playing time will come in a limited supply, Brown understands all too well the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity he gets on the floor.
He did just that on Saturday in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia, and he hopes to do more of the same on Monday when the Celtics take on the Houston Rockets.
When you look at Brown’s stat line, nothing about it looks impressive. He played 15 minutes, scored two points with one rebound and one blocked shot.
But beyond the stats was the fact that he was on the floor for seven minutes in the fourth quarter in a close back-and-forth game on the road. Rookies on the floor in crunch time is not the norm in the NBA.
“It means a lot,” Brown told reporters after Saturday’s win. “I try to be as best I can be for my team; try to put my best foot forward every night out.”
And he did just that on Saturday.
In the fourth quarter with the Celtics leading 87-83, Brown blocked a Gerald Henderson shot that wound up in the hands of Jae Crowder. Moments later, Jonas Jerebko hit a 3-pointer that gave the Celtics their largest lead of the game, 90-83.
And just two minutes prior to the blocked shot, he was out in transition following an Isaiah Thomas steal and threw down a dunk that pushed Boston’s lead to 86-83 with 7:11 to play.
Brown acknowledged making the most of those opportunities bodes well for him and the franchise.
“It’s great for our team in general; not just for me,” Brown said. “Those plays helped us to pull the game out in the end. So I’m glad we got the win. I think we should have played a little better than we did.”
The continued pursuit of self-improvement is a hallmark of what Brown’s focus and desire are at this stage of his pro career. He has talked often about not wanting to be just one of the best in this draft class but also one of the best in the NBA overall.
But he’s also learned that to get there takes time and experience developing both physically and mentally. Part of that mental growth entails having the right approach to games.
“Usually you try to tell yourself not to mess up,” Brown said. “Now that I’m getting more comfortable, it’s just play basketball, bring energy, things like that; come out and do what you’re supposed to do. A lot of times you try to tell yourself to not mess up and it’s counteractive; just come out and play basketball and have fun.”
And by doing so the minutes will come.
“You can’t control that. I just have to control what I can control,” Brown said. “I trust coach (Brad Stevens); I trust my coaching staff. I have to come out and in the minutes I get, play my hand as best I can and take advantage of what I do get and impact this team as much as possible.”
This season, Brown is averaging 4.8 points, 2.0 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the field.
Scott Zolak said on Pregame Live Sunday that the Patriots are better-suited to survive a season-ending injury to Rob Gronkowski than they were a season ago.
Zolak said that given the health of Dion Lewis, Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola and the signing of Chris Hogan, the offense has more stability at other positions to make up for the loss of Gronkowski, whose season is over due to back surgery. As for the tight end position, Zolak said he feels the Patriots traded for Martellus Bennett to protect themselves against scenarios like the one they currently face.
“This offseason they [acquired] Martellus Bennett, I think for this very reason: to prepare for what really happens year after year, is some sort of issue comes up with Rob Gronkowski and you have to play without him,” Zolak said.
Bennett was questionable with an ankle injury for this week’s game, but is expected to play. Asked about the health of Bennett, Zolak said that he believes the tight end is good to play, but that his importance to the team with Gronkowski out means the Pats will need to be careful.
“I think he’s healthy enough to get through about 30-35 snaps,” Zolak said. “They’ve got to balance him now moving forward.”