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Josh Hamilton's allergy issues nothing to sneeze at

Outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has had sinus and throat discomfort and left Monday's game early, says he has changed medication and will be tested for allergies.

May 14, 2013|By Bill Shaikin

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Josh Hamilton said he has changed sinus medication and is scheduled to be tested for allergies, but he wanted to make one thing about his weakened condition perfectly clear.

"This has absolutely nothing to do with my .200 batting average," he said.

The Angels limited Hamilton to designated hitter Tuesday, one day after the right fielder came out of a game with what Manager Mike Scioscia called dizziness. Hamilton said he has had sinus and throat discomfort for about 10 days and said he hoped a change in medication would help.

He also said he has arranged for a visit to an allergist, recalling that respiratory issues would flare when he played for the Texas Rangers and that team visited its American League West rivals.

"Every time I'd come to the West Coast, it would get worse," he said.

Hamilton said his current medical issues were not related to his condition last September, when he missed five games because of dryness and blurring in his eyes. The condition was traced to excessive use of caffeine and energy drinks.

"Last September was a caffeine issue," he said. "This is an actual sickness."

Hamilton, signed for five years and $125 million, entered play Tuesday batting .212 with four home runs. His batting average, .261 on-base percentage and .605 OPS ranked among the bottom 10 in the AL.

He said he has "felt really good" with his swing over the last two weeks, with lots of extra batting practice.

"I wish there was some magic key," Hamilton said.

Scioscia said Hamilton's condition is "manageable" without requiring time off and said he did not link the condition with Hamilton's struggles at bat.

"To be honest with you, no," Scioscia said.

Scioscia rejected a suggestion that he move Hamilton to the No. 3 spot, on the theory that the notoriously free-swinging Hamilton might get better pitches by hitting ahead of Albert Pujols.

"I don't think it's going to make much of a difference in the way Josh is pitched," Scioscia said. "Josh's game is Josh's game."

Hitting bats, not spots

On the day after Joe Blanton gave up seven runs and 12 hits in 4 2/3 innings, Scioscia said he was concerned by "the amount of spots that he missed." Blanton is 0-7 with a 6.46 earned-run average. That Blanton walked no one, Scioscia said, was misleading.

"There's a difference between command and not walking guys," Scioscia said. "Joe pitches to contact as much as anybody in baseball. What's lacking is the contact on his terms."

Weaver getting close

Jered Weaver is expected to throw a fourth and final bullpen session Friday before beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment.

"I'd like to throw an 80-pitch session and get in a game here, if I had my way," Weaver said.

Scioscia said Weaver would make at least two minor league starts, which means he could return to the Angels around June 1. The Angels ace has not pitched since April 7 because of a broken left elbow.

Reliever Ryan Madson, who made his first minor league rehabilitation appearance Monday, is expected to make one more Wednesday or Thursday and could be activated this weekend.

Twitter: @BillShaikin

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