Josh Hamilton staying calm in face of his deep slump
HOUSTON — It’s probably not what Angels fans want to hear, but Josh Hamilton is not going to beat himself up publicly or start throwing bats in frustration over his horrendous slump.
That lack of emotion may give some the impression Hamilton doesn’t care as much as he should, but the right fielder claims such displays of anger won’t help.
“When I feel a sense of urgency, I do worse,” said Hamilton, who signed a five-year, $125-million deal in December. “I need to keep working the process, have good early work and cage sessions, and when it clicks it will click.”
It clicked in a huge way for Hamilton one year ago Wednesday when he hit four homers for the Texas Rangers in a May 8 game at Baltimore.
Nothing has clicked this season for Hamilton, who went hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts Tuesday night and is batting .202 with a .248 on-base percentage, .287 slugging percentage, two homers, nine runs batted in and 40 strikeouts through 32 games. Hamilton had a .395/.450/.825 slash line with 15 homers and 38 RBIs through 32 games in 2012.
Hamilton, of course, has been through worse, a harrowing four-year addiction to cocaine and alcohol that nearly killed him and led to a three-year ban from the game from 2003 to 2005, so he is able to keep perspective on his current struggles.
“Every day I get to play a game for a living, I have fun,” Hamilton said. “It’s no fun when you stress about every pitch, every at-bat. If you have fun, you’ll play to the best of your ability. It’s going to come eventually. It’s not there yet. Stress just prolongs things.”
Jered Weaver, who fractured his left elbow on April 7, played long-toss Tuesday and should begin throwing off a mound Thursday. He’ll need several minor league starts before a probable return of late May, a little beyond his projected four- to six-week absence.
Reliever Ryan Madson, who has suffered several setbacks in his return from Tommy John surgery, threw a 20-pitch high-intensity bullpen session Tuesday and hopes to begin throwing in games in Arizona Thursday or Friday. He’s could be activated within two weeks.
Reliever Kevin Jepsen, out since April 12 because of a strain under his right armpit, played long-toss Tuesday and expects to begin throwing off a mound by the weekend. He will probably need a brief minor league rehabilitation stint before being activated.
C.J. Wilson was paired with catcher Hank Conger for the fifth straight start Tuesday, but Manager Mike Scioscia said it had more to do with Chris Iannetta’s struggles at the plate (.203, hitless in 19 at-bats) and behind it, where he has thrown out two of 23 base-stealers, than Conger’s relationship with Wilson.
“We want to get a left-handed bat in there until Chris gets going,” Scioscia said. “First and foremost, we want Chris to get a little more comfortable behind the plate.”
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