2010 MLB PLAYOFFS;ALCS NOTEBOOK;Hamilton salutes Ellsbury’s support

ARLINGTON, Texas – Rangers star center fielder and MVP candidate

Josh Hamilton was diagnosed with bruised ribs after crashing into

the wall against the Twins on Sept. 4.

More than two weeks later, a follow-up exam revealed he actually

had broken two ribs.

Shortly after the amended diagnosis, his phone rang. It was Red

Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury

offering words of encouragement and advice. ”The biggest thing I

took from that call was it takes a lot for a player from another

team to call,” Hamilton said. ”That should tell you a lot about

what kind of person he is and how he wants to see other people

do.” Though their injuries weren’t the same – Ellsbury broke five

ribs – the Red

Sox player still was able to offer

insight into treatment.

”His big thing was (stimulation) and ice,” Hamilton said.

”That was different from me. Ice made me spasm up and hurt, so I

had to go stim and heat. Everybody’s different, man.”

Hamilton admits he probably returned too soon, which is simply a

function of when he was injured. After batting just .111 in the

Division Series against the Rays, he hopes to improve tonight when

the ALCS begins against the Yankees.

”I think our situations were a little different, because

(Ellsbury) did it more toward the beginning of the season,”

Hamilton said. ”I didn’t really have a choice but to rush it. The

situations are obviously different. Could I have used a couple of

more weeks? Probably so. But I didn’t have that kind of time.”

Regardless, Hamilton appreciated the call.

”It was cool for him to reach out to me,” Hamilton said. ”It

was cool for him to make that effort, to try to give me some ideas

and a comfort level as far as dealing with them.”

Gyro on menu

One of the great mysteries of right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka’s

arrival in Boston was the gyroball, a mystical pitch reputedly

invented by a team of Japanese scientists and possibly made of

antimatter.

Turns out Matsuzaka never threw the thing. But tonight’s starter

for the Rangers, left-hander C.J. Wilson, insists that not only is

the gyroball real, but that he throws it.

Wilson explained how former teammate Akinori Otsuka introduced

him to Kazushi Tezuka, who wrote a book on the pitch and taught him

to throw it.

”To be fair, I don’t think it’s good for your elbow,” Wilson

said. ”I’ve had two elbow surgeries, and one was after I started

throwing the gyro. I don’t throw it that much except as a

demonstration. It’s a funny spinning fastball that looks like it’s

going to do something different than what it does spin-wise.

”I’ve used it in the past, but it’s something I don’t really

have great control of, so it’s not really worth using it in these

type of games, unless I’m just absolutely in the zone and feel like

something cool is going to happen if I throw it. Other than that,

I’m not going to use it, except for messing around.”

Pettitte goes 3rd

The Yankees rejiggered their rotation to have veteran

left-hander Andy Pettitte throw Game 3 in Yankee Stadium on Monday

against Rangers ace lefty Cliff Lee.

Right-hander Phil Hughes now will start Game 2 tomorrow

afternoon against righty Colby Lewis.

The move not only gives the Yankees a more battle-tested option

against the incomparable Lee, it lines up the winningest pitcher in

postseason history to go for New York should there be a Game 7.

”You look at Andy, he’s got, what, 40 postseason starts?”

manager Joe Girardi said. ”A lot of people talk about Game 3 being

pivotal as well, and we just felt this was the way to go.”

Pettitte is gunning to become the first 20-game winner in

postseason history. John Smoltz is next with 15 wins.

There’s a catch

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Matt Treanor will catch

Wilson tonight. He was undecided about first base, where Mitch

Moreland and Jorge Cantu platooned down the stretch. . . . Girardi

said the Yankees never considered asking ace and Game 1 starter CC

Sabathia to pitch twice more in the series on short rest.