Slugger in lineup at DH, says he has dealt with this problem throughout career
ANAHEIM -- The best way Josh Hamilton can describe whatever it is he's going through right now is to simply say he's "off upstairs."
On Monday night, the Angels' high-priced right fielder was pulled after six innings because of what manager Mike Scioscia originally deemed light-headedness. In a sense, that's true. But Hamilton will simply tell you that he's sick and dealing with some sort of sinus congestion that makes him prone to dizziness and sensitive to the bright lights of a Major League stadium.
"I'm just off," he said. "However you want to write it, however you want to describe it -- I'm just off."
Hamilton said he has been dealing with this issue throughout his career, and his most recent bout began on May 5, a couple days before the Angels left on their six-game road trip through Houston and Chicago. His body continues to "feel great," but the condition remains.
Hamilton was nonetheless in the starting lineup for Tuesday's game against the Royals, batting fifth but confined to designated hitter because the illness is manageable in the batter's box, not so much when constantly running around the outfield. Hamilton ended up homering in the sixth inning as the Angels won, 6-2.
He's vehement in saying this won't keep him out of the lineup, and he's quick to dismiss it as an excuse for his struggles.
"I've felt bad plenty of times and played and done well," said Hamilton, who has a .212/.261/.344 slash line despite getting two hits in Monday's loss. "This has nothing to do with that. It's more of, I'd say probably being out-on-the-field type of thing -- run the bases, then go out on the field, combined with lights and all that stuff. It's not the best thing at this moment."
Hamilton received a shot before leaving for Houston and felt better. But the cold of Chicago made it worse and, most frightening of all, the issue appears to be sensitive to Southern California's climate. While with the Rangers last September, Hamilton missed the last two games of a three-game series against the Angels, then another three because of a vision condition called "ocular keratitis," which impacts the cornea.
But the 31-year-old said that was directly linked to consuming too much caffeine. This, he added, "is an actual sickness."
Now that Hamilton will be in Southern California long-term, via the five-year, $125 million contract he signed in December, he'll seek a permanent solution by seeing an allergist soon. For now, he's between antibiotics, trying to figure out something that will at least temporarily get rid of the problem -- or, as he describes it, "put a Band-Aid on it."
Asked if getting rid of the problem entirely would force him to go on the disabled list, Hamilton said: "No, absolutely not. Because if that's the case, we'll just put Band-Aids on it until the offseason comes."