Hamilton feels OK despite mini slump

Hamilton feels OK despite mini slump

BALTIMORE -- If Josh Hamilton's 0-for-11 slump entering Friday's game troubled him, it wasn't apparent. Asked Friday afternoon if he was worried about going hitless in three consecutive games for the first time since April, the Rangers outfielder shrugged off the drought in good-natured fashion.

"What are you talking about?" Hamilton said, tongue planted firmly in cheek. "I've been having great at-bats."

He then stepped to the plate and proved it, ripping a double off the glove of left fielder Julio Lugo in the first inning.

In his past five games before Friday, Hamilton was 1-for-16 and had seen his league-leading average drop from .364 to .353, which is still tops in the Majors by 13 points. The last time he went hitless in three straight games was April 17-20. He's been hitless in three straight games only three times this season.

"Every player goes through [slumps], so it's not a big deal," he said. "I got out of my routine for a couple of days, so I got back in my routine. I felt good last night -- every at-bat got a little better. Just try to not do too much."

Rangers manager Ron Washington isn't concerned by Hamilton's struggles, especially since Hamilton has a baseball-best 22 games with three or more hits and is leading the Majors with 282 total bases and 161 hits. His .618 slugging percentage and 66 extra-base hits are second most in the Major Leagues.

The fact that the Rangers are on a four-game losing streak only magnifies what Hamilton is going through, Washington said.

"As hot as Josh has been, I don't know if he could have kept that pace up," Washington said. "It's certainly hurting us that ... it happened through this road trip, but Josh can get back on track. I don't think anyone could have stayed as hot as he was."