That toothpick Josh Hamilton had in his mouth Monday night was a tool he is using to stop chewing tobacco. Day One of the habit-breaking was Sunday. The toothpicks are coated in tea-tree oil, which has to taste better than tobacco.
That was a side note, though, to Hamilton speaking in depth for the first time about his struggles this month. He's hitting .194 with one homer and seven RBIs, he's also struck out in 16 of his past 17 games with an at-bat.
Hamilton said that he can't point to specific thing, though his short, quick swing in the cage isn't translated to the field. He also said that he is going into some at-bats with negative thoughts and essentially giving some of those away.
"You want to have confidence when you go up there," Hamilton said. "The more confidence you have, the easier it is, the less you try to do, and it works better. Human nature is to start overthinking, think about what happened last about, it kind of snowballs, and you just naturally think about it.
He's not going to change his approach, even though manager Ron Washington wants to see more patience. Hamilton can achieve that by recognizing pitches soon and by realizing that not many pitchers are going to throw him a strike.
"I've been hearing that since I was 3," Hamilton said of the calls for him to be patient. "Starting on time is a big key. If I start too early or start too late, then I'm pretty much screwed in the at-bat unless I make an adjustment during the at-bat. Right now, I'm not in a position to make an adjustment. It's just about focusing when I'm up there."
-- Jeff Wilson