ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton did not know exactly how to explain the problem that was going on with his eyes that kept him out of the lineup for five straight games. "It's me we're talking about here," Hamilton said to a large throng of media prior to Monday's game. "Guys, it's me. It's Josh. It's going to be something weird." There was nothing weird about Hamilton's return to the lineup on Monday, however. Hamilton looked like his old self against the A's, reclaiming the American League home run lead with a solo home run in the fifth inning, his 43rd homer of the season to move ahead of the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera, who did not homer on Monday.
The official diagnosis was ocular keratitis, a condition that impacts the cornea and the vision. The cause was Hamilton taking in too much caffeine, energy drinks and medications for other ailments. "All of those things compounded and made it worse," Hamilton said. But Hamilton believes the Rangers have identified the problem and fixed it. Hamilton worked out at Rangers Ballpark on Sunday without problem and is ready to finish the season. "My vision was great. ... It wasn't impacting my vision, it was impacting my ability to play," Hamilton said. "I came out yesterday and everything was fine. I hit, ran around in center field and everything went good. I'm back to normal." Hamilton has started 136 of the Rangers first 152 games going into Monday night. The Rangers are 9-7 when he is not in the lineup. "It's not about his production, it's about having him in the lineup," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.