Buzz: Josh Hamilton adjusts approach at plate
After his hot start this month, including the four home-run performance against the Baltimore Orioles on May 8, Hamilton has been in a funk recently.
He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in Monday's game with Felix Hernandez on the mound. Hamilton is 3-for-17 in his last five games, with twice as many strikeouts (4) as RBIs (2). His batting average has dipped from .404 to .379 in that span.
"Honey, I know you're frustrated because you don't feel quite right right now," Hamilton's wife told him. "You're trying to do too much and swing at pitches you're not supposed to."
Hamilton said he was thinking too much at the plate and his pitch recognition was off because he wasn't squared up to pitchers.
“If you can’t recognize that, you get overly geared up or the opposite way where you’re not aggressive enough," Hamilton said.
Hamilton analyzed film Tuesday and noticed his stance was closed. His outside shoulder was slightly off and turned in. His left eye is his dominant eye, which is the back eye when he's at the plate. Hamilton said he wasn't looking with both eyes at the pitcher.
"It's amazing how something can be just a little bit off and it throws a bunch of stuff off," Hamilton said.
Hamilton said pitches that were 90 mph looked like they were 100 mph. He didn't think pitchers, including Hernandez, were throwing anything different in his at-bats. Hamilton said Hernandez was throwing hard inside and soft away. He struck out both times against Hernandez on pitches low and out of the strike zone.
"Until Josh stops swinging at it, why throw it in the zone?" Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I don't see any pitches that pitchers are making that's causing Josh to do that. It's just sometimes Josh gets in that type of funk."
Washington recently said the only thing holding Hamilton back from the next level is discipline. He wants Hamilton to learn that on his own at the plate.
"If we try to create it then we take the aggressiveness away from Josh," Washington said. "For four or five days, you might see that, and then for four or five days he'll tear the cover off the ball. That's Josh."
Notes: Neftali Feliz's absence won't affect the Rangers' alignment of scheduled starters against the Blue Jays this weekend. Scott Feldman will pitch the series finale against the Mariners on Wednesday, and Derek Holland, Colby Lewis and Yu Darvish will pitch in the three-game set against Toronto.
As far as Feliz's replacement after this week, well, that's still to be determined.
"We haven't discussed anything beyond [Wednesday]," Washington said. "We'll have to figure it out."
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