Nolan Ryan questions Hamilton’s timing to quit chewing tobacco
Arlington, TX, United States (4E Sports) – Texas Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan questioned the timing of Josh Hamilton’s decision to quit smokeless tobacco during the season, saying it drastically affected the slugger’s performance that contributed to the team’s early vacation.
“You would’ve liked to have thought that if he was going to do that, that he would’ve done it in the offseason or waited until this offseason to do it,” Ryan told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM’s “Galloway and Company”.
“So the drastic effect that it had on him and the year that he was having up to that point in time when he did quit, you’d have liked that he would’ve taken a different approach to that,” he added.
Hamilton began his quest to quit chewing tobacco began in late June. In August, he admitted that he was dealing with discipline issue at the plate and discipline in “being obedient to the Lord in quitting chewing tobacco.”
After belting 21 homers and 57 RBIs in the first two month of the season, Hamilton struggled in June and July, hitting just eight homers and 27 RBIs while he’s trying to stay away from tobacco.
Hamilton’s error in a division-deciding game against Oakland cost them the AL West title and he went 0-for-4 during the wild-card game against the Baltimore Orioles.
The slugger also missed five games in September with blurred vision and balance issues that were attributed to a drying of the cornea caused by too much caffeine. He was later diagnosed with ocular keratitis.
Despite these issues, Ryan refused to believe that Hamilton quit on the team down the stretch.
“You know, that’s really a tough term to say somebody quit,” Ryan said. “He had an issue, he was under a magnifying glass and things didn’t go well”.
Recently, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club will not offer Hamilton a contract before he turns free agent.
“If you’ve gone this far, you’re going to test the market,” Daniels said. “The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market and it’s this close, you’re not going to pre-empt it. I think he’s going to go out and test the market and see what’s out there and get back to us.”
Daniels said the Rangers are not closing their doors on Hamilton but they are prepared for the possibility that he will not return next season.
Struggles aside, Hamilton still came up with numbers that could attract huge offers from other teams, finishing the season with a .285 average with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs.