Following Saturday's win over the Rangers (LAA 5, TEX 4), manager Mike Scioscia expressed some exasperation with Hamilton's performance. Here's what he told reporters, including Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News:
“Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia said. “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.”
Hamilton is 2-for-9 with seven strikeouts during the first two games of this weekend's series with his former team. Dating back to August 4, the date of his last home run, he is 5-for-38 (.132) with 18 strikeouts.
Hamilton is having a solid season overall -- he's hitting .266/.339/.414 (116 OPS+) with eight home runs in 72 games after missing time with a thumb injury -- but it's a far cry from the monster seasons he put up in Texas. He had a 137 OPS+ and averaged 28 home runs per season during his five years with the Rangers.
The Angels signed Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million contract before last season, when he was already 31. Between normal age-related decline and, let's be frank here, all the damage he did to his body during his time battling addiction, it's no surprise Hamilton's performance has started to slip. It's highly unlikely he will ever get back to being the MVP-caliber player he was with Texas. Whether Scioscia likes it or not, this is the Hamilton they have.