ARLINGTON, Texas – We found out Monday that the reason for Josh Hamilton's absence the last 5 ½ games was ocular keratitis, a condition that dries the corneas because of a high consumption of caffeine.
It was a local optometrist that figured it out Sunday, and Hamilton said he cut off most of his caffeine, which included energy drinks and too much coffee and chocolate.
Perhaps Hamilton summed it up best: “It’s me we’re talking about here. Guys, it’s me. It’s Josh. It’s going to be something weird.”
Add this one to the list of odd injuries. And Hamilton has his fair share. Hamilton’s eyes have certainly made news the past few years.
Last June, he said his blue eyes contributed to his issues of hitting in the daytime and began taking drops after going through a bunch of sunglasses in an effort to find a way to see the ball better when it was lighter outside. He injured his shoulder early in the 2011 season, which in and of itself isn’t strange, but how it happened was certainly odd. He was tagging up on a foul ball popup down the third base line in Detroit and ran into the catcher on a headfirst slide to cause the injury. Hamilton did not play in the Houston series a few months back with an intestinal virus that he picked up from his kids.
Hamilton said he couldn’t stop staring at things and it was as if his eyes just stayed open and he couldn’t close them. He wasn’t able to alter his focus. He said he’d move his head, but his eyes wouldn’t follow.
So there you go. Even Hamilton acknowledged it was strange.
The injury reinforces the idea that you never know when – or how – Hamilton will get injured or be out of the lineup. That makes it difficult for teams to figure out the proper market for Hamilton in the offseason. He’s worth more than $20 million a season with how much he impacts the lineup and the game. But how many years are you willing to guarantee him?
The fact that Hamilton missed a key road trip because of how caffeine was impacting his vision won’t matter much if he turns it on for the final 10 games and helps lead the offense in the postseason.
That should be his focus now.