Hamilton expects to start Thursday vs. Rangers

Hamilton expects to start Thursday vs. Rangers

TEMPE, Ariz. -- When the Angels play the Rangers on Thursday, for the first of only two times this spring, Josh Hamilton figures he'll start.

"I don't see why I wouldn't," Hamilton said of Thursday's game against his former team, at 6:05 p.m. PT in Surprise, Ariz. The Angels also finish their Cactus League schedule against the Rangers on March 27 at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

"It is what it is," Hamilton said. "I spent some time there, loved it there, but I play for the Angels now. I'm going to go over there and try to beat them."

Hamilton, batting .250 (7-for-28) with a homer and four RBIs in his first 11 Cactus League games, said he stays in touch with some of his former Rangers teammates through text messages "here and there, but for the most part, not really."

All of Hamilton's energy is on the Angels' complex, where his playful personality has endeared him to his new teammates and his desire to sign autographs for almost everybody -- each with its own Bible verse -- has delighted a new fan base.

Hamilton's regular season will start with a reunion tour -- to Cincinnati, site of his first Major League season in 2007, and then Texas, the place he starred from 2008-12.

"Spring has gone quick for me, I think because I'm in a new place," Hamilton said. "There's so much going on as far as getting to know people, figure out personalities and things like that. But I've fit right in. The guys are good with me. It's just a good clubhouse, as far as welcoming guys and making them feel part of the organization. You translate that towards the same mentality on the field, of just playing and having fun together. Nothing needs to change, from the clubhouse to the field."

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.