First-pitch aggression works for Hamilton

First-pitch aggression works for Hamilton

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton's home run on Monday night was his eighth in 17 games. That's the fewest number of games in history a Rangers player has needed to hit his first eight home runs in a season. Alex Rodriguez hit eight in the first 18 games during the 2002 season, on his way to a club-record 57 home runs.

"Physically, he feels good and his focus level is where it needs to be," hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said of Hamilton.

Hamilton went into Tuesday's game against the Yankees ranked in the top three in the American League in the Triple Crown categories. He was third with a .408 batting average, first in home runs and second with 18 RBIs.

"Sometimes I feel good, and sometimes I don't," Hamilton said. "That's baseball. The majority of the time, I'm feeling pretty good. The thing you've got to watch out for when you're feeling good is not expanding the zone way too much. That's going to be counterproductive. You've got to watch it, have a plan and stick with it."

Hamilton also went into Tuesday's game having swung at 61 percent of the first pitches being thrown to him -- the highest percentage in the AL.

"I don't think they're trying to throw him get-over strikes," manager Ron Washington said. "Hamilton is just aggressive. If you take that aggressiveness away from him, I don't think you'll get Josh Hamilton. You've got to let him figure it out. With [Adrian] Beltre in that lineup, he talks to [Hamilton] a lot, lets him know if they don't want to throw to him. I'll deal with it.

"He has to go up there and decide not to swing the bat. You can't tell him not to go up there, swinging at first pitches. He swings at what he thinks he sees. He sees a lot. He does a lot. You leave that alone."