YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections
(Page 2 of 2)

Josh Hamilton is the definition of a streak hitter

Angels' new slugger can carry a team, but he was a drag during the second half for Rangers last season. Hamilton says chewing tobacco and caffeine issues are behind him.

February 06, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

When Hamilton's mind and body are right, his approach is sound and his eyes and hands are working in unison, he can produce pure magic, like that four-homer game last May.

Hamilton struggled the night before, going hitless in five plate appearances before something clicked in his last at-bat and he homered. His focused the next night on what former Rangers hitting coach Clint Hurdle preached.

"Play aggressive pepper," Hamilton said. "Stay square. I don't have to stride to make power. Just put a nice easy swing on it and make solid contact."

Hamilton homered to center in his first at-bat. Next was a shot to left, followed by two bombs to center, making him the 16th player to hit four homers in a game. He tacked on a double for an AL-record 18 total bases.

"That was the greatest single-game performance I've ever seen," Murphy said. "Baseball at this level should not be that easy for anyone."

There were so many dramatic moments during Hamilton's five years in Texas, including the first-round, 28-homer barrage in the 2008 Home Run Derby, his superb performances in AL Championship Series wins over the Yankees in 2010 and Tigers in 2011, and his 10th-inning homer that gave the Rangers a lead over St. Louis in Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

But Daniels' personal favorite came Aug. 13, 2010, during a game against Boston in which the Rangers overcame an 8-2 fourth-inning deficit and won, 10-9. Hamilton went four for five with a homer, double, walk and stolen base. He also made a diving catch.

"It was a clinic on how to take over a game," Daniels said. "All of his skills were on display."

Daniels and the Rangers will now have to watch those skills perform for their AL West rival.

"It's the nature of this business — if it works out for the Angels it hits us doubly hard; if it doesn't work out for them, it could help us," Daniels said. "I'd say I wish Josh the best, but I'm not really sure I do.

"Personally, I do. Professionally, I'm not sure."

Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

Los Angeles Times Articles