ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton walked into the clubhouse wearing contact lenses that made his eye look red on Friday. His hope is that they can cut down in the amount of light and help him see the ball better during the day.
“I’ve never worn contact lenses in my life and I really would like to see the ball in the daytime, so therefore I’m trying any means possible to do that," Hamilton said. "I actually care and I want to be better and I don’t want to suck in the day.”
Hamilton has batted .122 (6-for-49) with no homers and four RBIs and eight walks during the day. He also has 17 strikeouts and a .429 OPS. At night, he's much better. Hamilton is hitting .374 (41-for-109) with six home runs, 28 RBIs, seven walks and a 1.076 OPS. And he only has 14 strikeouts while playing under the lights.
During his 2010 MVP season, Hamilton hit a respectable .286 during the day and .384 at night.
Hamilton said Wednesday that he has a tougher time seeing the ball because he has blue eyes. An optometrist who talked to ESPNDallas.com on Thursday supports Hamilton’s theory and explained why.
"Because of the lack of pigment in lighter color eyes -- like blue or green eyes as opposed to brown -- you get a lot more unwanted light and that can create glare problems," said Dr. Richard L. Ison, O.D., an optometrist since 1990 who currently working in Murphy, Texas, just northeast of Dallas.
Ison said the phenomenon is called intraocular light scatter, meaning the light scatters as it enters, producing a focal point that isn't as good.
His solution for Hamilton: Find a pair of sunglasses that he's completely comfortable wearing while batting.
Maybe these new contacts will take care of the issue.
Hamilton said the contacts will be used only during day games. He’s not going to change what he’s been doing at night.
The Rangers have two day games against the New York Mets this weekend and manager Ron Washington, who said he’d never heard anything about pigmentation in the eyes affecting at-bats during the day, plans on starting Hamilton on Saturday. He hasn’t decided about Sunday yet.
UPDATE: Hamilton said the lenses did help him during batting practice on Friday, saying he could pick the ball up better out of Washington's hands. He said he'll probably try them during Saturday's game.
"He usually throws like it's out of the bleachers and I can't normally see that very well but I could today," Hamilton said.