Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton gets ready to step into the on-deck circle… (Norm Hall / Getty Images )
The headline attraction on the first week of the Angels' season is Josh Hamilton's return to Texas, but Hamilton says he is more curious about his return to Cincinnati.
The Angels open the season there Monday, followed by a weekend series in Texas. Hamilton played his rookie season for the Reds, a coming-out party after a seven-year odyssey through drug abuse and the minor leagues.
After that one season, in 2007, the Reds traded him to the Rangers for pitcher Edinson Volquez. Hamilton played for Texas for five seasons, including the only two World Series appearances in Rangers history.
"I'm more interested to see how Cincinnati goes," Hamilton said. "I haven't been back there. I know what Texas is like.
"I don't know how the Cincinnati fans will react, if I'll just be like another player. I only spent one year there."
The Angels have not played in Cincinnati since 2007, when Peter Bourjos was in the Class-A Midwest League and Mike Trout was a high school shortstop. Hamilton said he could offer his fellow Angels outfielders one bit of advice about playing in the cozy Cincinnati ballpark.
"If it's hit over your head, it's probably going to be a home run," Hamilton said.
The Angels will pack their parkas. The temperature is expected to drop into the 30s during the first two games of the series in Cincinnati.
The Angels were greeted by work crews frantically completing the Dodger Stadium renovations. Trout even tweeted a picture from inside the new training facilities in the visiting clubhouse: "Great new facility at Dodger Stadium but paint's still a little fresh!"
Manager Mike Scioscia jokingly checked the bottom of his pants for wet paint before sitting in the dugout. After he did, he said he did not care that the Dodgers did not enlarge the size of the visiting clubhouse but did appreciate the addition of a batting cage behind the visiting dugout, so pinch-hitters have a place to get ready.
"A functional batting cage there is important to us," Scioscia said. "It's really all we need."