2/20/2014 6:33 P.M. ET
Hamilton shrinks accountability partner's role
By Alden Gonzalez / MLB.com
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Josh Hamilton's days of having an accountability partner who is constantly by his side are over. For 2014, the Angels' outfielder has, as he put it, "downsized the role," going with someone who will be with him only on the road and who will not dress for games as an additional coach.
"It's time to cut the cord a little bit," Hamilton said. "I don't really use it for home games. I go to the park, I do what I need to do, I know what I need to do, and I have my family. That was one of the main reasons."
When Hamilton got back into baseball in 2007, Johnny Narron served in that role. In February 2012, three months after Narron took the job as Brewers hitting coach -- and less than a month after Hamilton's step-father backed out in order to be with his family -- Shayne Kelley stepped in.
Kelley was employed by the Rangers and the Angels and was with Hamilton at virtually all times during the 2012 and '13 regular seasons. But now, given Hamilton's decision to limit the role, the two sides felt it would be best for Kelley to move on to something else.
"Shayne loves sports and stuff," Hamilton said. "We talked about it and figured it would be better for him to pursue whatever he wants to do."
Taking Kelley's place on a part-time basis will be Boyd Bassham, whom Hamilton knows from his church in Texas. Bassham will fly to road games from his Dallas-area home, continue with the team to any other city they visit on the trip, then return home when the Angels return to Southern California.
Bassham will attend all road games except those in Arlington and in Houston. Chad Harrington, who has known Hamilton for five years and, as Hamilton said, "loves me a lot," will step in for games in Texas.
Both men will continue to handle Hamilton's meal money, and neither is all that interested in baseball, which Hamilton considers a good thing. Most importantly, Hamilton -- now 32 and eight years removed from being sidelined because of harrowing addictions to drugs and alcohol -- feels he has come a long enough way.
"You don't say you don't need it, but I have other people in my life to pick it up -- whether it be [wife] Katie or just spiritual mentors," Hamilton said. "And Boyd, he doesn't know anything about sports. He knows about baseball, he knows who I am and he knows what I do, but it's going to be more of a spiritual thing."
Hamilton's wife and the couple's four daughters are with him in Arizona.
Ibanez looks to be more than just a DH
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Raul Ibanez, turning 42 on June 2, still is not sure how much longer he wants to play this game.
"I don't really think about it," he said. "I try to focus on the day to day. It's a gift. That's how I look at it.
"But not too many more."
Can this be the last one?
"We'll talk at the end of the year," Ibanez said, grinning. "If we can win a World Series, then we'll talk."
For now, Ibanez is focused on being more than just a designated hitter for the Angels. That is what he signed up for with the Yankees in 2012 and with the Mariners in 2013, then ultimately played a combined 1,483 1/3 innings in the outfield.
The Angels have plenty of outfield coverage, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia has stressed that he wants versatility out of Ibanez, who needs to be able to fill in at left field and is a potential emergency option at first base -- a position at which Ibanez has not started since 2005.
"I'm ready for whatever," Ibanez said. "You train in the offseason to be an athlete, not to be a DH, so you have to be ready to do anything."
Ibanez slumped to a .203/.295/.345 slash line in the second half last year, but he will tell you that had nothing to do with the 832 1/3 innings he spent in Seattle's outfield. In fact, he believes it was taking a break that hurt him.
"I was the only guy, maybe in all of baseball, that didn't want the All-Star break to come, because I felt so good," Ibanez said.
"I'm not going to attribute it to anything other than I wasn't good in the second half. That's it. If you do that when you're 40, people say you wore down. If you do that when you're 25, they say, 'Oh, the league figured him out, and he'll adjust.'"
• Scioscia has seemed impressed with the young players in camp, saying Thursday: "At first glance of the young talent we have in this room, there are some guys that are a much higher end than a lot of people outside our organization have projected. I think you'll see these guys, as they get through camp hopefully with some confidence, go down to the Minor Leagues and be on our depth chart."
• The Red Sox agreed to terms Thursday on a one-year, $2.25 million deal with left-handed starter Chris Capuano, according to CBSSports.com, which added that the deal included an extra $2.75 million in incentives. The Angels are currently interested in adding starting pitchers only to Minor League contracts.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.