SURPRISE, Ariz. – Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun returned to camp on Saturday, after staying away Friday to absorb the disappointment of being optioned to Triple-A Nashville.
Calhoun was informed on Thursday that he would not make the team and was officially optioned on Friday. At that point, he had 72 hours to report to the Minor Leagues. Calhoun took 24 hours before coming back to camp.
“I just needed a day,” Calhoun said. “We get 72 hours. I just felt I needed to take a mental day so I could detach and gather my thoughts, so I could come back and not do what I did last year, let my attitude affect my play. This year, I am not going to let it happen. I just needed a day to regather my thoughts.”
Calhoun was optioned to Triple-A last year in Spring Training. He ended up hitting .229 over 25 games in April and admitted that he let the demotion impact his play. He called general manager Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward on Friday night to tell them that he would not let that happen again.
“I just let them know where I am at mentally,” Calhoun said. “They were real supportive. I told them I am not going to let my attitude affect how I go to Triple-A. I am going to Triple-A and be a good teammate, hustle and do everything I can to get back up here.”
Woodward said Calhoun’s phone call meant a lot to him.
“I was really excited because I was concerned,” Woodward said. “You just don’t know. I know a couple of days ago, he was seeing red. He had every right to be seeing red. But when you come out of it, what was his response going to be? And this is what I was looking for. He showed this is the kid I thought he was.”
Calhoun said he spoke to several teammates, including Nomar Mazara and Elvis Andrus, and explained the situation to them, as well.
“I told them I didn’t mean to disrespect anyone,” Calhoun said. “I’m not that kind of guy to disrespect anybody. My parents brought me up to be respectful, so I got that cleared up.”