ARLINGTON, Texas – A tough week for Texas slugger Josh Hamilton took another turn Saturday when he was given what Texas manager Ron Washington termed a mental day off.
Hamilton is hitting .284 on the season and batting .206 over the last 55 games. That .206 number is better than the current slide he’s in as Hamilton is hitting just .119 over the last 16 games and has 19 strikeouts in the last 12 games.
Hamilton’s week started with team president Nolan Ryan saying on a radio show he was giving at-bats way. Then Friday night he was booed at Rangers Ballpark. Now he’s not in the starting lineup.
“I haven’t even thought about it,” Hamilton said Friday night after the Rangers lost to the Chicago White Sox. “I noticed, but it’s all
about what have you done for me lately, no matter who you are. That’s
what it is. There’s more fans that are still cheering and encouraging
me. I’ll pray for the ones that are (booing). I appreciate the support
from the other ones. It’s disappointing. I’ll leave it at that.”
Despite the rough week, Hamilton remained upbeat Saturday.
“It is what it is,” he said. “I’ve been through worse in my life. I play a game for a living. Whatever the president of the team says is not going to hurt my feelings. Fans booing me, I’m not going to lose any sleep over. Not being in the lineup sucks. I want to be in there every day, help my team win. People when you’re struggling or going through tough times they try to figure out how to help. I’m cool man. I’m really good.”
Hamilton said he was going to use the day off to rest physically more than mentally. Saturday marked the first time since June 17 he wasn’t in the Texas starting lineup.
Texas manager Ron Washington said he didn’t tell Hamilton he was getting the day off Friday because he would have tried to talk his way in the lineup.
“You’ve been seeing the same thing I’ve been seeing,” Washington said. “I just thought it was time he needed a break.”
As for the boos, Washington said he was surprised by them but didn’t think it was a big issue.
“Hamilton is like Reggie (Jackson) said ‘The straw that stirs the drink’,” Washington said. “I can’t say what fans are thinking. I guess that was their dissatisfaction. I have no problem with that. They boo me. They do love Josh even though they booed him.”
Hamilton also wanted to reassure people that he’d be fine.
“It’s going to be good folks,” he said. “Fans out there, it’s going to be good. Just hang in there.”
Hamilton’s absence led to a different lineup for the Rangers. Adrian Beltre batted third with Nelson Cruz batting cleanup for just the second time this year. Michael Young was dropped to the No. 6 spot with David Murphy hitting fifth. Washington said that was because he wanted to break up the team’s right-handed hitters.