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Vladimir Guerrero Is Back, and Ready to Go

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Vladimir Guerrero Is Back, and Ready to Go
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Vlady is going to play with Texas this season, after having a good run with the Angles. 

 

If Vladimir Guerrero's debut season with the Rangers is anything like his 2004 introduction to the Angels and their fans, he'll make a lot of folks happy deep in the heart of Texas.

As Guerrero was preparing for his first appearance against the team he graced for six seasons, he was asked to identify his best memory as the Angels' offensive centerpiece and right fielder.

"My first year, when we made the playoffs," Guerrero replied with characteristic brevity.

"Your MVP season, right?" he was reminded.

"Yes, I was the MVP," he said.

There would be four more blockbuster seasons for the Angels after he kicked off his run with 39 homers, 126 RBIs, a .337 batting average and a league-best 124 runs scored in claiming the American League MVP Award.

He finished third in the MVP balloting in '05 and '07, putting together numbers that would move him toward a remarkable distinction in 2008 when he joined Lou Gehrig as the only players in history with at least 11 consecutive seasons batting at least .300 with 25 or more homers.

That run ended in 2009 when Guerrero, recovering from offseason knee surgery, tore a chest muscle making a throw from right field a few days before the opener and later suffered a leg injury making a play in right.

"Vladimir is one of the greatest players and greatest guys I've ever played with," Torii Hunter said. "He is one of the best ever, a Hall of Famer. He has such a great sense of humor and is so humble. It was a thrill to be his teammate."

Guerrero looks thinner and fitter than last year at this time, there's an obvious reason. Coming off knee surgery, he wasn't able to go through his customary winter workout program and was behind when he came to camp last spring.

"I feel good, better than last year," he said.

He decided to become a U.S. citizen, he said, to make it easier for his mother to visit. It's always been family first for Guerrero, who will appears intent on bringing smiles and thrills to a new extended family in Texas.

 

Best of luck to my favorite Ranger.

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