Waiting for Hamilton
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The cheers Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton heard in his return to Texas should tell you a little something about his performance this season.

Hamilton heard boos initially from the fans he used to play in front of, but there has been plenty of cheering over the last two games as Hamilton has gone 0-for-8 with four strikeouts.

That comes after Hamilton, who signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in December, went 1-for-12 with six strikeouts at Cincinnati in the first series of the year.

We know Hamilton followed Albert Pujols in signing a big-money contract with the Angels, but did he really have to mimic Pujols' performance from April 2012?

Pujols hit .194 over his first 27 games with the Angels and didn't hit his first home run until game No. 28. But it would be an overreaction to expect Hamilton to start out that poorly.

The free-swinging Hamilton is prone to slumps, but he also can go off at any time for a three-homer game. He hit 43 round-trippers and drove in 128 runs last season.

Plus, he doesn't have to get used to a new league, new pitchers or new ballparks like Pujols did in 2012.

After the Angels finish with Texas Sunday night, the Angels will come home, where Hamilton will be warmly received regardless of his early batting average.

Yes, he'll be playing Oakland, a team against which he hit .247 (18-for-73) with three home runs in 19 games last season, but the environment should help him get on track.

As should the time the games will take place.

Four of the first five games have started before 5 p.m. ET this season, and Hamilton has notably struggled in day games in his career.

He's a .255 hitter with 30 homers in 197 career day games, compared to .318 with 131 homers in 545 night games.

Two years ago, when Hamilton hit .220 with one homer in 33 day games, he blamed it on his blue eyes. Hamilton claimed that his eyes were sensitive to the light and made it difficult to pick up the ball, an excuse that was actually backed up by an optometrist in Texas, according to ESPNDallas.com.

Whatever the reason, Hamilton just doesn't do well in day games, and it just so happens that he had to play under the sunshine in four of the first five games.

Sunday's game will have an 8:05 p.m. ET start, and all three games in the series against the Athletics will begin at 10:05 p.m. ET.

Hopefully, once Hamilton gets under the cover of darkness, he'll quickly end his slump and get fantasy owners off his back.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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