Hamilton gets 'mental break' with day off

Hamilton gets 'mental break' with day off

Hamilton gets 'mental break' with day off
ARLINGTON -- Josh Hamilton, who is 7-for-59 with two home runs and 20 strikeouts over his last 16 games, was out of the lineup on Saturday night as Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to give him a day off.

"I thought he needed a mental break," Washington said.

Washington said he did not consult with Hamilton before deciding to play Leonys Martin in left field.

"If I tried to tell him, he would have fought me on this," Washington said. "I just thought it was time to give him a mental break."

Hamilton was the American League Player of the Month for both April and May but is hitting .190 with a .374 slugging percentage in 44 games since the beginning of June. During that stretch, he has struck out 56 times in 163 at-bats. He was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and two RBIs on Friday that resulted in some boos from a smattering of the sellout crowd. He also got a big ovation with a first-inning sacrifice fly.

Hamilton, who still put a full afternoon in the batting cage before Saturday's game, said things would get better soon.

"It's going to be good folks ... fans out there, it's going to be good," Hamilton said. "Just hang in there."

Hamilton said the day off is better physically than mentally. He suggested he is dealing with some physical issues.

"It's a compilation of things," Hamilton said.

Hamilton has also had to carry the burden of attention even though several members of the Rangers offense have been struggling.

"I think the focus has been on everybody ..." Washington said. "But Hamilton is like what Reggie [Jackson] said. He's the straw that stirs the drink."