KANSAS CITY -- Josh Hamilton was asked on Sunday morning about his morale. "It stinks," Hamilton said before the Rangers game with the Royals. "I just can't figure out what's going on." Manager Ron Washington decided to give him a day to figure it out. Hamilton was out of the lineup on Sunday for the first time since he returned from the disabled list on July 6. Washington originally had planned to sit Andruw Jones but decided otherwise when Hamilton went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts and a walk on Saturday night in a 6-3 loss to the Royals.
"He needs it," Washington said. "I want to give him a chance to gather himself." Hamilton went into Sunday's game with just two hits in his last 28 at-bats. For the season, between his two trips to the disabled list, he is hitting .228 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs. He has a .279 on-base percentage and a .402 slugging percentage. He has no clue as to what's wrong. "I don't know," Hamilton said. "I really don't know. If I knew, I'd fix it. But since I don't, I can't." Everything went right for Hamilton in 2008 after the Rangers acquired him from the Reds for pitchers Edinson Volquez and Danny Ray Herrera. He hit .304 with 32 home runs, 98 runs and a league-leading 130 RBIs. He had a .371 on-base percentage and a .530 slugging percentage. He has not been anywhere close to that this season, although it didn't help that he was sidelined from April 27 to May 11 with a strained muscle in his left rib cage and from June 1 to July 5 with a torn abdominal muscle that ultimately required surgery. He has the fifth-lowest on-base percentage in the American League among all players with at least 180 at-bats. His .681 on-base plus slugging percentage is the 22nd lowest among the 122 players in the league with at least 180 at-bats. He has struck out once for every 4.02 plate appearances, the 13th worst ratio in the league. It all sums up the frustration that is boiling up inside of him. "You'd be frustrated too if you had a vision of what you're capable of and can't find it," Washington said. "We haven't given up on him and we're not going to let him give up on himself. This day will do him some good. He's never experienced anything like this before in the Major Leagues. "He just can't seem to get his timing together, and that's something he has to work out, because he's the only one who steps in the box."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.