Josh Hamilton was back in the lineup for the Rangers on Monday night against the A’s after missing five games due to vision problems and balance issues. Most people refer to this mysterious condition as vertigo, and it can sometimes come and go without explanation. In Hamilton’s case, the Rangers say an optometrist believes his condition, specifically called ocular keratitis, may have been caused by drinking too much caffeine.
“It’s me we’re talking about here,” Hamilton joked with reporters prior to Monday’s game. “Guys, it’s me — it’s Josh. It’s going to be something weird. I was loading up on caffeine, and I’m out there in the bright lights. I can’t control my eyes. They are stuck.”
As Big League Stew pointed out, this is not an unprecedented condition in major league baseball. Braves catcher Brian McCann improved his vision problems when he cut back on caffeine in 2010 and Johnny Damon did the same back in 2009.
“Drinking caffeine, coffee in the morning, coffee midday, energy drink before the game, chocolate after the game,” Hamilton explained. “All these things were compounding and making it worse and worse.”
As we all know, Hamilton struggles with addiction and has had a tough time giving up nasty habits in the past. While a player missing five games because he can’t lay off the Red Bull is a pretty unique situation, you might be surprised to hear that it isn’t the strangest food and drink consumption injury we’ve ever featured here on LBS.Google+