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Josh Hamilton finding his 2010 swing again

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton never felt right at the plate in 2011.

"My body figured it out, but it wasn't my normal swing," Hamilton said.

That swing still managed to produce a .298 average with 25 homers and 94 RBIs in 121 games. But Hamilton never felt comfortable as he did when he won the AL MVP Award in 2010.

It started with the injury sliding headfirst into home plate in Detroit, which caused a hairline fracture in a bone in his arm and impacted how he could used his shoulder. Then with all of his groin injuries late in the season, he wasn't firing off his back foot.

"My body had to adapt to be able to swing," Hamilton said. "So that took me out of where I wanted to be mechanically getting through the ball, staying in the zone longer. It was more of a swing to protect my body. I never got back in the groove. So the bad habits that were created, I need to eliminate them."

Hamilton went to work with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh this offseason, trying to keep his stroke short and compact and slow things down so his bat spent more time in the hitting zone. He finishes his swing with one hand and his finish was off thanks to that shoulder. He feels better about it now.

"I'm shortened up and using my back side more," Hamilton said. "It doesn't hurt, so instead of letting pain be my guide, I'm focused on the right mechanics."

Hamilton and Coolbaugh say they are seeing results. Hamilton had a double to right-center in the intrasquad game Thursday and has had good batting practice sessions.

"He has a tendency to speed things up and now he's slowing down," Coolbaugh said. "He wasn't as consistent as he could be because of the injuries and now he's finding that groove."

Hamilton said he's doing a better job the past few days in the cages of staying down in the zone.

"Now I have to take it from the cage to the field and not try to hit the ball far, but just focusing on doing what I should," Hamilton said. "Sometimes I try to get too big in batting practice and have to calm down. It's a process."