ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton has made a big change. The toothpick anchored in his mouth was the giveaway. "I've stopped dipping," Hamilton said before Monday's game with the Tigers. "It's been two days." This is not the first time that Hamilton has tried to quit using smokeless tobacco, but this time he is determined.
"I'm tired of doing it," Hamilton said. "I don't enjoy it like I used to." He also isn't particularly fond of explaining why he is struggling at the plate. He was 1-for-4 with a single on Sunday against the Rockies after going 0-for-8 with seven strikeouts on Friday and Saturday. "I felt better yesterday, hopefully I will feel even better today," Hamilton said. "I just go through phases where I become a little jumpy at the plate. I try to do too much." Hamilton went 1-for-4 again in Monday's 8-2 loss to the Tigers, but this time it was a two-run homer in the seventh for the Rangers' lone runs of the game.
Hamilton agreed with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh that regaining the timing of his swing is the biggest thing right now."Starting my swing on time is the big thing," Hamilton said. "If I start early or I start late, I'm pretty much in trouble. If I start my swing on time, the pitches get as deep as they need to get and I get to see them better. It's a matter of focusing. It's about trusting your eyes, knowing when to start your swing and trusting yourself." Hamilton was the American League Player of the Month for April and May but went into Monday's game hitting .194 with one home run and seven RBIs in 19 games in June. "Everything in the batting cage has been good," Hamilton said. "But when I get on the field, my swing gets big. It's about transitioning the cage work to the field. But when you get in the game you can't think about it. What comes out, comes out."