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Adjustment at plate paying off for Hamilton

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HOUSTON -- C.J. Wilson said it, and he would know.

"This," Wilson believes, "is the real Josh."

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The Angels' starter was referring to Josh Hamilton, the power-hitting outfielder who's starting to look like the five-time All-Star in Texas -- where the two played from 2008-11, until Hamilton joined Wilson again via a five-year, $125 million contract in December 2012.

Hamilton was named the co-American League Player of the Week on Monday -- along with Twins first baseman Chris Colabello -- after an opening week in which he batted .500 and homered twice. Then, during Monday's 9-1 win against the Astros, he drew a career-high-tying three walks, reached base all five times and hit an RBI single, keeping his batting average at .500 (12-for-24).

The key so far, Hamilton said, has been getting back to bouncing around before starting his load.

"It's just rhythm, not staying still," Hamilton explained. "Hitting is rhythm and timing. If one is out of synch, you are going to struggle."

Hamilton didn't do it at all last year, or while struggling in the second half of 2012.

"I completely forgot about it," Hamilton said. "Who knows why you forget about something you've done your whole career. It's something small, but something small can go a long way sometimes."

So can plate discipline and strike-zone awareness.

Hamilton, who finished last year with a .909 OPS in his last 45 games, has drawn six walks through his first seven games. Last year, when he started the season with only one hit in his first 21 at-bats, it took Hamilton 26 games to draw his sixth walk. Monday was his fourth career three-walk game and his first since May 13, 2009.

"Plate discipline is not always going to lead to a walk," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a function of trying to get better pitches to hit. Josh is not going up there with the idea of taking pitches, and that's what's exciting. You're seeing him ready to hit, he's seeing the ball well, laying off some pitches that are not there, and that shows a comfort level in the batter's box."

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.

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