ARLINGTON, Texas — Struggling Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton had no issues with the comments team president Nolan Ryan made in a radio interview about Hamilton giving away at-bats.
Ryan, speaking Monday on KESN-FM, said Hamilton was swinging at a lot of bad pitches and didn’t seem to be locked in. He also said he never saw Henry Aaron give away at-bats like Hamilton is doing.
Hamilton said he didn’t listen to the interview but understood where Ryan was coming from.
“The biggest thing with Nolan is that I love and respect Nolan to death,” Hamilton said. “He’s a competitor. He’s still a competitor and he was a big-time competitor when he played. I believe he cares so much for the rest of his players, almost like a grandfather would, that when he sees us not performing or not doing the things we need to do, it frustrates him. I understand why it frustrates him. I can’t blame him for anything.”
Hamilton, who entered Wednesday’s action mired in a two-month slump that’s seen his average drop from .404 to .290 over the last 53 games, said he needs to be more focused at the plate. He went 0-for-4 Tuesday but did have an RBI grounder to score the lone Texas run in a 2-1 loss to Boston.
But even on that play Hamilton wasn’t happy as he slammed his helmet into the bat rack, which is something out of character for him.
It also speaks to his frustration level. But Hamilton wouldn’t say he’s giving away at-bats.
“I just feel out of sorts mentally,” said Hamilton, who still was tied for the American League lead in RBIs with 81 before Wednesday.
“It’s the mental aspect more than the physical aspect. That’s just where I think I am right now. Last night [Tuesday], after I hit the little blooper, after Elvis [Andrus] scored I came back in ill. I threw my helmet. I never throw my helmet.”
But Hamilton said he feels like he’s about to snap out of his slump.
He showed up to the clubhouse Wednesday wearing a Roy Hobbs jersey from the movie “The Natural.”
Hamilton said he won’t make any major mechanical changes to his swing but he knows he has to be more selective.
“When I’m swinging at pitches out of the zone it’s no big deal,” said Hamilton.
“When I’m swinging at them and missing them it’s a big deal. Focus on bringing pitchers back to having to throw me strikes or at least something close enough that I can do something with it. They all know they can throw me questionable pitches, and more than likely I’ll swing at them. But when I’m going good, they can do that and I get hits. When I’m not going good, I get myself out. I understand that.”