Washed out of a chance to see live pitching, Josh Hamilton took to the indoor batting cages at Dell Diamond to continue working toward his 2015 debut with the Texas Rangers.
He was willing to swing as long as he had someone flipping balls to him or willing to throw him pitches. It turns out there was no shortage of help at the ready and eyeballs capturing his swings.
There was also no shortage of swings, an estimated 200 of them before he and the rest of the players and coaches at Triple A Round Rock decided to head for home. The Express is scheduled to play a doubleheader Thursday and a game Friday at home before going to Colorado Springs.
The rain has likely derailed any of Hamilton’s plans to debut this weekend at Globe Life Park.
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“A smart man would say yes,” he said. “The goal is to get at-bats and get in game situations and run the bases and do all the things I need to do.”
But the Rangers haven’t scuttled their tentative plan to activate Hamilton early next week. There’s work to be done, though, if he wants to join them as soon as Tuesday in Boston.
All the other things — running the bases, working out the soreness, reacquainting himself with left field — will come. His main task is getting his swing and approach in order, and he feels that is coming quickly after striking on a way to keep his weight shifted back.
“I’m the type of guy, if I do something more than 10 times, it’s going to be ingrained in me,” Hamilton said.
The ability to stay back will help Hamilton drive the ball better. For most of the past two seasons and essentially until Tuesday, he had been lunging at pitches. The result was weak contact or no contact.
If he is staying back, he can let pitches travel further. He’ll be able to recognize them, and not swing at so many pitches out of the zone.
In theory, Hamilton will stop getting himself out.
“Staying back is the biggest thing,” he said. “Realizing I was doing that more times than not, and working on using my hands more and take my body out of the swing.”
He wasn’t doing that for most of the two seasons he was with the Los Angeles Angels, who saw him hit .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in 240 games. He shook out of a funk in 2013 once he went back to what worked so well for him with the Rangers, and his right shoulder started to affect his swing more last season.
“I wasn’t my normal self, so it was almost like survival mode,” Hamilton said. “I was trying to figure it out and just couldn’t get it done.”
He has plenty to get done the rest of the week if he hopes to join the Rangers on Tuesday at Boston. Hamilton believes he has found the right swing that will help get him to the Rangers’ active roster.
He kept working on it on a wet Wednesday.
“Dude, I felt really good,” Hamilton said.