ANAHEIM -- Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton made his 25th start at designated hitter on Friday night. That's 10 more than his previous career high, set in 2008, and six more than the number of times he served as DH from 2011-12.
That has prompted Hamilton to search for a routine to effectively combat the long stretches of idle time between plate appearances when one doesn't play the field.
The strategy that works best for him: "Do as little as possible."
"When I go down there in the cage and just swing, swing and get loose and get hot, terrible result," Hamilton said. "So now I go down there and maybe sprint a couple times or whatever, don't swing. Just go up there and freaking hit."
Hamilton hasn't played a game in the outfield since Aug. 27. His left shoulder, which received a cortisone shot about 10 days ago, no longer feels sore. And prior to the opener against the Rangers, Hamilton was on the field early and throwing at pretty much full strength.
The Angels, however, continued to play it safe, starting Hamilton at DH for the sixth straight time.
Hamilton enters the weekend series on perhaps the best stretch of his trying season, with 30 hits and 13 walks in his previous 102 plate appearances to put his slash line at .238/.299/.422 for the year.
That stretch dates back to Aug. 9, when Hamilton was playing the outfield semi-regularly -- and it hasn't stopped while he's been the DH.
"I just keep going back to saying, 'I need to do something,'" Hamilton said of staying loose between at-bats. "And then every time I do something, I suck at the plate.' So, don't do anything.'"
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.