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HOMECOMING NO MORE: Texas star Josh Hamilton no longer sees playing at Tropicana Field as a homecoming-type event.

Hamilton was taken first overall by Tampa Bay in the 1999 amateur draft. His eight years in the Rays’ minor league system were marred by his well-documented battle with substance abuse.

Although Hamilton sees familiar faces in the Tampa Bay dugout and the stadium stands, he said the homecoming feeling has “come and gone.”

“Other than that (the familiar people), now it’s just another team,” said Hamilton, who is in fourth season with the Rangers.

Hamilton and the other Rangers outfielders spent time during Sunday’s off day taking fly balls to become accustomed again to the domed stadium.

“We have a good idea how the ballpark plays,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “But coming back here, we’re just going to make sure they understand where the crevices are and get used to the lights. And (Monday) is just play baseball.”

Hamilton already employs a different technique when playing in St. Petersburg. He wears his baseball cap a little bit higher on his forehead to help his eyes adjust to the stadium lights.


BEAST MODE: Whenever the Milwaukee Brewers do something positive on the field, you see them go into “beast mode,” lifting their arms and waving in celebration.

Prince Fielder started it this season in honor of his two young sons, Jadyn and Haven, whose favorite movie is Monsters, Inc., a 2001 computer-animated film by Pixar Animation Studios.

“They watched that growing up,” Fielder said.

The beastly celebration is a way for the team to enjoy itself.

“We have to be ourselves,” Nyjer Morgan said. “We’re a laid back, loose team with a bunch of talent here. Us being kind of plain Jane _ that’s not us. We’ve just got to go out there and electrify people.”

Morgan said players do it after getting a hit because hitting is tough and it’s another way to show they’re having fun.

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