Hamilton back in lineup Monday

Hamilton back in lineup Monday

ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton returned to the Rangers' lineup on Monday against the Tigers, but has been moved to the seventh slot.

The move was designed to take some pressure off the Rangers slugger.

"He's trying too hard," manager Ron Washington said. "Just give him a little break, take the pressure off. His timing is off ... not there. The only person who can get the timing is him. If I had the answer, it wouldn't be happening the way it was happening."

Washington filled Hamilton's normal No. 3 spot in the lineup with David Murphy, who has been hitting .375 in July.

"He's one of our hottest hitters," Washington said. "We're trying to get him up there where his base hits mean something."

Hamilton wasn't affected by the move down in the lineup.

"It is what it is," Hamilton said. "He [Washington] said he wanted to move me down. You get pitched the same way down there as in the three hole. I'm just happy to be in there. I might get more runs to drive in."

Hamilton also hit seventh on Sept. 11, 2007, for the Reds. That was the last time he hit lower than fourth in a lineup.

Hamilton is hitting .228 in 50 games this season, the lowest his average has been since April 26 (.226). He is 2-for-28 over his past seven games, which dropped his season average from .256. Hamilton has one home run in his past 21 starts and just seven on the season.

He has watched video and done all of the normal work, but he thinks his struggles have been compounding.

"I'm thinking too much," Hamilton said. "I've been thinking I hadn't got a hit. It's hard not to do that. It's only human. I need to shut the head games down a little bit."

He remains positive about his coming around. During the Royals series over the weekend, Hamilton said the opposing pitchers were throwing a lot of offspeed pitches.

"I was sitting on offspeed stuff and putting good swings on it," he said. "I've had a lot of positives, even if the results weren't there. I don't feel horrible at the plate."

Washington said Hamilton's return to the No. 3 slot will depend on his performance.

Daniel Paulling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.