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Mental strength behind Hamilton's reversal

Mental strength behind Hamilton's reversal

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Mental strength behind Hamilton's reversal
ST. PETERSBURG -- The Josh Hamilton of late is day-and-night different from the one the Rangers saw earlier this summer.

Hamilton has crushed four homers in the last seven games and five in the previous 10, a far cry from the combined eight he hit in June and July.

His most recent long ball, his 40th of the season, came on Saturday at Tropicana Field off the Rays' Chris Archer. He is just the fifth player in club history to reach the 40 mark, joining Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira.

How many could he have had over a full, healthy season?

"He doesn't have a limit," manager Ron Washington said. "Josh is learning how to be a good hitter, even through all the frustrations. ... As his manager, I'm really proud of how he's gotten back focused and how he's stayed that way, and he's having fun again."

Washington said that slumps are a part of the game but added that if Hamilton can stay healthy and focused, "[he] could do some magical stuff."

"If he can stay out of the valley he went in this year -- he went way down in there, he touched the bottom and then climbed his way back out -- if he could go halfway down in that valley and climb back out, you'll certainly see better numbers than he has right now."

Most of the adjustments Hamilton made, according to Washington, were mental. At no point did Hamilton have any physical problems, but once he was dropped to fifth in the lineup for two games, he started being more patient at the plate.

"He slowed everything down," Washington said. "He knows now why he was doing what he was doing, and he's trying not to let it happen again."

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