Hamilton looks to break out of mini slump

Hamilton looks to break out of mini slump

ARLINGTON -- Friday and Saturday were really bad days for Josh Hamilton. He was 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts. What's wrong?

Lack of patience, manager Ron Washington said. Lack of timing, hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh said.

"Give me a day or two and then I'll talk about it," Hamilton said Sunday before the Rangers' game with the Rockies. "Just keep your eyes open and watch. That's all you need to know. Plain and simple as it gets. You'll see some changes, but I'm not ready to talk about them right now."

Maybe he knows something. Hamilton was 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts in two games against Toronto on May 15-16, 2010. He followed that up with three straight two-hit games and was 23-for-61 (.377) with three home runs in seven straight games. He ended up being the American League Most Valuable Player that season.

"It all goes back to patience," Washington said. "Show a little patience and that will change. That doesn't mean stop swinging the bat, just swing at strikes. It's all about patience because he has been swinging at a whole heckuva lot outside the strike zone."

Hamilton was hitting .368 with 21 home runs and 57 RBIs in 47 games at the end of May. He had a .420 on-base percentage and a .764 slugging percentage.

In his first 18 games this month, Hamilton hit .197 with one home run and seven RBIs. He had a .267 on-base percentage and a .353 slugging percentage.

"He's had periods like this before," Coolbaugh said. "We talked about it in Spring Training, if we could keep the same consistency all year, that's our biggest challenge. No matter what happens in your last at-bat, don't let it carry over. It's a 162-game grind and he's still at the part of his career where he is learning that.

"His timing is off. You start to swing too quickly, everything is sped up and you're not giving yourself a chance to see the ball."

Hamilton promptly singled on the second pitch he saw in the first inning Sunday night and finished 1-for-4 with a walk and a strikeout in the Rangers' 4-2 victory.