When Josh Hamilton stepped to the plate Tuesday for his second plate appearance with the Angels, he took the first pitch, then flashed a look in the direction of Jim Eppard.
One of baseball's most aggressive first-pitch swingers, Hamilton said he and his new hitting coach have been trying to dial it back just a bit.

"Everybody knows I like to swing if it's around the strike zone," Hamilton said. "I talked to Ep about working on taking more pitches and maybe walking some. He's trying to get me to do it in batting practice and it hasn't been too successful."
Last season Hamilton swung at the first pitch 48 percent of the time, the second consecutive year he led the majors in that category. You can make a case that Hamilton shouldn't fix what isn't broken, because he still put up big numbers in those years. However, his best offensive season in Texas was 2010, which also happens to be the year he swung at the fewest number of first pitches, only 41 percent. Hamilton won the MVP that season.
"If you don't think you need to work on something, you aren't going to be striving to get better," Hamilton said. "You'll get complacent. There is always something you can get better at. You talk about the guys with good strike-zone recognition and walks and on-base percentage and things like that. It's about helping your team."
Eppard said, despite Hamilton's success with his current approach, the Angels would still like to see a little more discipline.
"We'd like him to strike out less, and walk more," Eppard said.
That being said, don't expect Hamilton to change dramatically. He concedes that he will always prefer swinging to working the count.
"If it's late in the game and you need a real tough at-bat, it's different," Hamilton said, "but you have a better chance of swinging at three strikes than one."
Hamilton did swing at the first pitch in his other two trips, grounding out the first time and swinging and missing in the third at-bat, which he still worked to six pitches before he hit a fly out. After taking that pitch in the second at-bat, Hamilton hit a fly out on the second.

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