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04/11/09 1:00 PM ET
Day games a challenge for Hamilton
Rangers outfielder makes adjustments to hitting in sun
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
DETROIT -- The Rangers are in a stretch of four straight day games, their longest such streak since 1998. This presents a challenge for outfielder Josh Hamilton. He was a much better player at night than during the day in 2008. "It was a learning process, and I didn't know how to handle it," Hamilton said. "With anything, it takes experience to get it ironed out." Hamilton hit .323 with a .554 slugging percentage in night games last year, while hitting .248 with a .458 slugging percentage during day games. The fortunate thing is the Rangers play more night games and fewer day games than any other team. But Hamilton recognized the problem and has taken steps to deal with it. "It was a big deal last year," Hamilton said. "But in Spring Training, I started taking more steps to get my eyes adjusted to the sunlight by getting out on the field earlier and getting into the sun. Especially if we have batting practice before day games, that makes it a lot easier." New sunglasses have also helped. Hamilton, like many other players, wears sunglasses in the field. But, unlike many players, he doesn't wear them at the plate, because he said it distorts his depth perception. The solution, he found, were special lenses that help keep his eyes relaxed for a short period after he takes them off. "There's about a 10-15 minute window after I take them off," Hamilton said. "After that, I start to squint again. Ever since we've come out of Spring Training, I've been used to the sunlight. I haven't really thought about it."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.