Hamilton: 'Not having year I'm capable of'

ARLINGTON, Texas -- It says something about Josh Hamilton's expectation level that he's batting .296 with 17 homers and 71 RBIs and is disappointed in his season. Maybe it's because it hasn't been as good as his 2010 AL MVP season that included a league-leading .359 average with 32 homers and 100 RBIs. And Hamilton strives to play close to that level.

Hamilton said he's hasn't been as hot as he was last year.

"It's a little disappointing, but at the same time, it’s understanding that’s the way the game goes," Hamilton said. "I’m not having a bad year, but I’m not having the year I’m capable of having. So, I don’t know. I can’t worry about it because I’ll start struggling again."

Hamilton said he was talking with Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh the other day and noted that he's making more contact this season, but hasn't gotten the most out of that contact. He said he isn't striking out as much as normal, but also has seen his home run rate go down.

The numbers show that's true, though it's not glaring. In his career, Hamilton has struck once every 5.49 plate appearances. This season, it's 5.85 (last year it was even better at 6.01). He has hit a home run every 19.54 plate appearances in his career and is at 21.94 this season, so that is certainly a bit of a drop off. He's still driving in runs at a fairly consistent clip and fourth on the team in that category.

Hamilton said he hasn't been able to "turn it loose," so he can get more production and power from making contact.

"I’m trying to figure out how to do that," Hamilton said. "It’s easy to say turn it loose, and when I get up there, it’s in contact mode. There’s a fine line between too aggressive and not aggressive enough, and where you look lazy. I haven’t been able to find that happy medium this year which is controlled aggressive. That's the thing that's been bugging me."

When informed of Hamilton's thoughts, manager Ron Washington shook his head and laughed.

"I want damage," Washington said, chuckling. "I want him turning some infielders over."

Washington said Hamilton has been inconsistent and yet is hitting around .300.

"He hasn't had that month yet where he's carried us. That's all," Washington said. "He's carrying a target as the MVP. Pitchers are making sure they don't make any mistakes on him. He pics up runs, I'd just like to see him multiply them."