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Josh Hamilton finds his swing

7/10/2011

ARLINGTON, Texas – Josh Hamilton has been on a tear in the month of July for the Texas Rangers right before the All-Star break, and it’s all thanks to his hands.

Hamilton has put time in the batting cages with Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh and assistant hitting coach Johnny Narron. The trio watched footage of Hamilton’s at-bats from last June when he made a slight change in his swing and focused on the activity of Hamilton’s hands.

“Taking my body out of the equation and loading my hands was the biggest key for me,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton now has more rhythm with his hands, but he takes his hands back rather than going back with his whole body when the pitch arrives. Hamilton said it puts him in good hitting position being able to use his backside.

During those sessions, Coolbaugh also told Hamilton, “Free your mind and the rest will follow,” in reference to the 1992 hit “Free Your Mind” by En Vogue. Hamilton has worked on the concept in practice.

“The more you end up working on it in practice, it’ll end up coming out in the game at some point,” Hamilton said.

The reigning American League MVP is batting .412 in July with a .765 slugging percentage. In nine games, Hamilton has a .425 on-base percentage with 13 RBIs and only two strikeouts.

Capped by his walk-off two-run homer in the Rangers’ 7-6 victory over the Oakland A’s on Saturday, the All-Star is catching fire at a time when he could possibly cool off due to midsummer classic.

“You always worry about that a little bit but you can’t think about it,” Hamilton said. “You can’t dwell on it. All you can do is try to end strong and pick up where you left off.”