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Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton not the same player he was with Rangers

Josh HamiltonMike Scioscia isn’t exactly thrilled with the type of production — or lack thereof — he’s received from Josh Hamilton.

Hamilton is only hitting .216 with a .630 OPS since the All-Star break and went 1-for-5 with 4 strikeouts Friday against the Rangers. That prompted Scioscia to say Saturday that Hamilton isn’t the player he was with Texas when he was a 5-time All-Star, won the 2009 AL MVP and commanded a 5-year, $125 million contract from the Angels.

“Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said via the Dallas Morning News. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.”

Despite being exasperated with Hamilton, Scioscia says he is not moving the outfielder from the cleanup spot in the lineup.

Though Hamilton has struggled lately, his regular season numbers could be worse. He’s batting .266/.339/.414 this season and was really scorching before going down with a thumb injury. Sometimes that’s all it takes to take a player out of his rhythm.

If Scioscia maintains confidence in Hamilton, I’m sure the outfielder will come around. He’s always been a streak hitter and will likely get hot again before too long. Maybe Scioscia is trying to motivate Hamilton by talking him down.

Coco Crisp robs Josh Hamilton of home run; fireworks accidentally go off (Video)

Coco-Crisp-robs-homerJosh Hamilton has not hit many home runs this season. Much of that has to do with the fact that he has been injured, but Coco Crisp is also partially responsible. Hamilton made a bid for his fourth homer of the year on Wednesday when the Oakland A’s center fielder robbed him.

The best part? Whoever was in charge of setting the fireworks off for the Los Angeles Angels cost the team a little money. He or she was too quick with the trigger, and the fireworks that are typically reserved for home runs were set off after Crisp made the fantastic catch. Coco even gave a finger wag as the ballpark filled with smoke.

Better make sure the ball actually lands over the wall next time.

H/T Big League Stew

Josh Hamilton suffered thumb injury on head-first dive into first (GIF)

Josh Hamilton will likely be out 6-8 weeks after suffering a thumb injury that could require surgery, the team said on Wednesday.

Hamilton was trying to beat out a ground ball to short in the 7th inning of the Angels’ loss to the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday and went into first with a head-first dive. Hamilton’s left hand went into the base, and he ended up tearing a ligament and capsule in his hand.

Commentator Mark Gubicza nailed it immediately, saying that he was concerned about Hamilton diving into the base because the outfielder could hurt his thumb that way just like Yasiel Puig did. That’s exactly what happened, but, unfortunately for the Angels, Hamilton’s injury was much more serious than Puig’s.

Though you think the injury would teach Hamilton not to dive head-first into first again, he says it’s an instinctual move and that he can’t guarantee he won’t do it again.

“Sometimes your instincts more than anything take over; the fun of the game,” Hamilton said via MLB.com. “I thought maybe when he was fielding the ball he had to go a little farther than he did, but he didn’t. I shouldn’t have done it, probably, but I’m not going to say I’m not going to do it again because I’d be lying.”

Josh Hamilton dive

This is really a bummer because Hamilton was having such a great start to the season. Hamilton was 12-27 (.444) with two doubles, two home runs and six walks and was on his way to turning around a disappointing start to his Angels career.

GIF via @nick_pants

Josh Hamilton welcomes Ian Kinsler to Rangers doghouse

Josh-Hamilton-Ian-Kinsler

Prior to Tuesday, there was probably no active player in Major League Baseball that Texas Rangers fans hated more than Josh Hamilton. Ian Kinsler may have changed that when he ripped his former team in a recent interview and said he hopes they go 0-162 this upcoming season.

Shortly after Kinsler’s comments went viral, Hamilton sent the following tweet:

Seems like he’s enjoying the company, no? Hamilton erased any positive feelings Rangers fans had toward him when he called them “spoiled” and said Dallas is not a baseball town. He was later booed mercilessly when he came to town with the Los Angeles Angels and even needed to request extra security for his family.

Kinsler should expect the same reaction from Rangers fans when he visits with the Detroit Tigers.

Josh Hamilton has put on 28 pounds

Josh HamiltonThe Los Angeles Angels must already be nervous about the five-year, $125 million contract they signed Josh Hamilton to last season. The 32-year-old outfielder had his worst statistical season in years, hitting a career-low .250. He belted 21 homers and drove in just 79 runs.

Hamilton is hoping to restore his swing in 2014 and get back to being the player he was for five seasons with the Texas Rangers. His first order of business has been gaining weight. During a guest appearance with the Louisville baseball team last week, Hamilton said he has gained 28 pounds during the offseason.

Prior to 2013, Hamilton committed to not eating processed foods or gluten. His power numbers dipped.

“I didn’t feel like my power was where it needed to be,” Hamilton said, per The Courier-Journal. “But overall I still feel good about eating healthy and lifting heavier weights this offseason.”

The Courier-Journal also posted a video of Hamilton speaking to reporters, and he didn’t appear fat by any means. Athletes often try to slim down as they get older, but maybe adding some muscle would be beneficial for Hamilton. If he lost a bunch of weight and his numbers dipped all around, that would be one logical solution.

Josh Hamilton: ‘It sucks’ being so far out of first place

Josh HamiltonThe Los Angeles Angels are running out of time to climb out of the hole they have dug themselves into in the AL West, and Josh Hamilton knows it. The Angels fell to 12 games out of first place with a loss to the division-leading Oakland A’s on Saturday.

“It sucks. I mean, there’s not much I can tell you,” Hamilton said after the 3-1 loss, via MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez. “It’s one of those things where we’re going out, competing, doing what we can. … We’re playing how we want to play, and it’s hard. You have to do all the things – pitching, hitting, playing defense. We’ve done that in spurts, but really haven’t been consistent with it on a day-in, day-out bases. And that’s what it’s going to take – we have to do it day in and day out, get some momentum and rattle a few off.”

If Hamilton had been living up to his $125 million contract, the Angels would probably be in a better position to contend. While he has 15 homers and has started to hit with more pop as of late, Hamilton is still hitting a measly .223 with an on-base percentage of only .277. He acknowledged that he has been part of the problem.

“Obviously it would help if I could pick it up, but overall, it’s not like we’re going out there laying down,” Hamilton said.

To make matters worse, Albert Pujols is likely headed to the disabled list after re-injuring his foot, which he previously stated may need surgery in the offseason. With only 60 games remaining, it may already be too late for LA to make a playoff run. Given the hype that surrounded the team heading into the season, anything less than a wild card berth would be a major disappointment.

Josh Hamilton chewing tobacco again, has gone on hitting streak

Josh Hamilton has finally shown signs of breaking out of a season-long slump for the Los Angeles Angels, and the chatter around Angel Stadium is that his hot streak coincides with his decision to resume his habit of chewing tobacco.

Hamilton is batting .223 on the season with 82 strikeouts in 79 games. His OPS, which is currently .672, has never been higher than .743 at any point in the season. He has been moved down in the lineup and given off days, but nothing helped.

Presently, Hamilton is on a 7-game hitting streak, which is his longest of the season and also coincides with the Angels’ 7-game winning streak. Hamilton is 10 for his last 25 (.400) with four doubles, four RBIs, and four walks. The image below shows him packing a huge wad of tobacco in his cheek during Sunday’s game, in which he went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI double:

Josh Hamilton tobacco

Could Hamilton’s hitting streak have to do with him resuming his tobacco habit?

The Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovanna says Hamilton began chewing tobacco again at the beginning of the team’s last road trip, which is when both streaks began. Hamilton skirted the issue when DiGiovanna asked him about a possible correlation.

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