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Bulked-up Angels OF Josh Hamilton looks to regain 2010 stroke

January 21, 2014|By Mike DiGiovanna
  • Outfielder Josh Hamilton hit .250 with 21 home runs and 79 runs batted in for the Angels last season.
Outfielder Josh Hamilton hit .250 with 21 home runs and 79 runs batted in… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

In addition to gaining about 20 pounds this winter, Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton said he’s been working with a “functional movement coach” in an effort regain the swing that helped him win American League most-valuable-player honors in 2010 but deserted him for most of 2013.

“In August, I went back and looked at videotapes from 2010 until that moment,” Hamilton, who hit .217 through the first four months of last season, said Tuesday during an in-studio interview with MLB Network. “What I saw was that in 2010, it wasn’t anything mechanical, it was physical.

“I watched my hips, and they were really exploding and driving through the ball. It was the same way in 2011. Then I had a couple surgeries. When you have some surgeries, some things turn off, and you start compensating, doing things [you shouldn’t do]. I’m working on getting those things turned back on.”

Hamilton helped the Texas Rangers reach the 2010 and 2011 World Series, hitting .359 with a .411 on-base percentage, .633 slugging percentage, 32 home runs and 100 runs batted in in 133 games in 2010 and .298 with a .346 OBP, .536 slugging percentage, 25 homers and 94 RBIs in 121 games in 2011.

Hamilton underwent surgery to repair a sports hernia after 2011, his second such procedure in three seasons. Though he finished 2012 with a .285 average, 43 homers and 128 RBIs, he struggled badly in the second half, hitting .259 with 16 homers and 53 RBIs. He had a career-high 162 strikeouts on the season.

After signing a five-year, $125-million deal with the Angels, Hamilton looked lost at the plate for the first four months of 2013 and finished with a .250 average, 21 homers, 79 RBIs and 158 strikeouts.

Hamilton, 32, salvaged what could have been a horrid season by hitting .329 with a .392 OBP and .518 slugging percentage in his final 45 games after compiling .217/.271/.397 line in his first 106 games.

Hamilton came to spring training last February at 225 pounds, about 20 pounds lighter than his normal reporting weight, because he didn’t think he’d lose as much during the season as he did playing in the Texas heat. But he speculated at the end of the season that the lighter load may have contributed to his struggles.

Through weight-training and added calorie intake, Hamilton has bulked up to about 235 pounds, roughly the weight at which he has played most of his career.

“I’ve never lifted heavy, heavy weight before, so that’s what I’m doing this off-season, trying to put muscle on,” Hamilton said. “I also have a couple cheat days here and there — I’ll have pizzas, burgers, every once in a while — but for the most part I’m trying to eat gluten-free, because that makes my joints feel better.”

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