Hamilton blames caffeine, decongestant for illness



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Posted on September 24, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Updated Monday, Sep 24 at 7:32 PM

ARLINGTON — Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton says a combination of coffee, chocolate, energy drinks and allergy medicine is responsible for keeping him out of the lineup.

He said the mixture resulted in dizziness and blurred vision.

Hamilton's health problem — initially thought to be sinus-related — solves the mystery that caused him to miss five games.

Doctors have diagnosed the star outfielder with ocular keratitis, which stems from excessive caffeine intake.

Hamilton said his daily routine fed the condition like wildfire — coffee in the morning and afternoon... energy drinks before games... and post-game chocolate.

Adding decongestants to the mix dried out his eyes.

The result: Hamilton would become visually fixated and couldn't focus.

"I'd come in every day and take a Zyrtec and then Mucinex D, and that was drying my eyes out," Hamilton told reporters. "Drinking caffeine, coffee in the morning. Coffee midday. Energy drink before the game. Chocolate after the game. All these things were compounding to make it worse and worse, and so it just got to the point, and got to the level where -- like I said -- not understanding  or realizing that's to the level I was as far as intaking that much caffeine... and then I was still taking my caffeine drink before the game... and it was overloading me, basically."

Hamilton — who is tied for the Major League home run lead with 34 and second in the RBI race with 123 — said he has also been trying to quit using chewing tobacco, so that only served to increase his caffeine intake.

Hamilton added that it was tough to leave his team at a crucial time in the season, but he planned to return to the lineup Monday as the Rangers begin a crucial series against the Oakland Athletics.

E-mail jtrahan@wfaa.com