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Notes: Hamilton heating up

Notes: Hamilton heating up

SEATTLE -- Not surprisingly, Reds rookie Josh Hamilton is finding it's easier to hit a baseball when he's not suffering dizzy spells and feeling lightheaded.

Hamilton saw his four-game hitting streak, during which he had clubbed two homers, come to an end on Sunday with an 0-for-3 showing.

The 26-year-old center fielder came out in the sixth inning of Cincinnati's June 14 game vs. the Angels, complaining of dizzy spells. He played the next day but has only just started feeling 100 percent again.

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"After that one game, it was game after game I was getting that way, and I was still playing," Hamilton said. "The last day I had it was Tuesday night in Oakland. The day game [Wednesday], I felt fine. I think I've got it over the hump now. I haven't had that feeling the last three or four days."

What's helped Hamilton get better?

"I'm staying away from sugars," he said. "I've stopped drinking soft drinks altogether. It's tough. The more I grab water and juice, the easier it gets."

Hamilton, who was batting .272 with 11 homers and 24 RBIs this season, has been one of baseball's top rookies after returning from a near four-year layoff because of substance abuse problems. But dietary issues have dogged him throughout the season. He was sick in early April and spent May 22-June 3 on the disabled list because of gastroenteritis, a digestive condition.

To stay well, Hamilton will have to continually watch what he eats.

"It's a process I'm trying to figure out," Hamilton said. "[Coach] Johnny [Narron] is helping me with it and [my wife], Katie, is helping with it. For instance, this morning, I had three eggs over easy with a side of bacon. I got that protein so I could eat a donut. They kind of equal each other out. If I were to eat an apple, I have to eat a piece of cheese to counteract the sugar."

Rehab assignment begins: Infielder/outfielder Ryan Freel was sent on a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Louisville. Freel has been on the disabled list because of a concussion suffered in his May 28 outfield collision with Norris Hopper.

"Not even the baseball part of it, we're all happy that he's back to being himself doing normal activities," Reds manager Jerry Narron said.

Freel, who worked out with Louisville on Saturday, was the designated hitter for Louisville for Sunday night's game. He went 1-for-4 and could play in the outfield on Monday. A return date to the Reds remained unknown. The 31-year-old was still feeling the effects from the frightening incident.

"I'm still having some pretty nasty headaches and some dizziness," Freel said Sunday afternoon. "Some nausea, and things like that. ... I just want to get out there and play and try to get back up there as soon as I can. So I'm ready. I'm excited. I shut down for a while, so being able to get up and move my legs and do some activity, it's been nice."

"Hopefully, we'll see him soon," Narron said. "It'll depend on how he feels and where he thinks he is."

Freel still has no plans to alter his all-out approach to the game, despite the health risks.

"This is what has gotten me here, and this is what is going to keep me around," Freel said. "I mean, this is what I love to do. I love defense as much as I love offense. Defense wins and loses ballgames, too. I don't think for one second it's going to slow me down."

Relief pitcher Jared Burton [lower back spasms] is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Louisville on Monday.

Guardado update: Closer Eddie Guardado worked in a side bullpen session Saturday and felt no ill effects. Guardado suffered a stiff lower back last week during his rehab assignment from elbow surgery.

"It's getting there," Guardado said. "I think I was trying to do too much to get back. But that's what competitors do."

Guardado is slated to throw to hitters in batting practice Tuesday in Philadelphia. When the lefty is eventually activated, he likely won't see action immediately as the closer.

"We wouldn't put him in the ninth inning that first day back, maybe the second day," Narron said. "It wouldn't be fair to him to put him in the ninth inning with a one-run lead the first time out, even though he'd love it."

Coming up: Following Monday's off-day, the road trip rolls into city No. 3 for Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. ET series opener at Philadelphia. Homer Bailey (2-0, 4.00 ERA) will start for Cincinnati against the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick (1-0, 4.50).

Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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