Angels manager confident about communicating with Hamilton

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) – Angels manager Mike Scioscia is ”really confident” about having some communication with Josh Hamilton when the team is in Houston, where the slugger has been rehabbing from shoulder surgery.

Scioscia, who hasn’t seen Hamilton since after last season, didn’t say Wednesday if that would include a face-to-face meeting.

”You just want to get caught up on some things,” Scioscia said. ”Whether we do it via telephone or in person, we’ll hopefully touch base. … I’m really confident we’re going to communicate in some way.”

Hamilton hasn’t been with the team since right shoulder surgery before spring training, and his self-reported relapse into substance abuse. Scioscia said he has spoken with Hamilton, but didn’t elaborate.

The Angels completed a three-game series Wednesday at the Texas Rangers. Los Angeles has a day off Thursday in Houston before opening a three-game series against the Astros.

Scioscia said earlier this week that he was hopeful of meeting in person with Hamilton.

But Hamilton is not is not expected to visit the Angels clubhouse while they are in Houston.

When asked when Hamilton might be able to get back in the Angels lineup, Scioscia said that is one of the things that is ”still open-ended” and depends on what baseball activities he is able to do.

”His surgery, there’s time that he needs to heal, and there’s a range, and we’re still within that range,” Scioscia said. ”It’s not like it’s outside of that range. We’ll have to take in account of just where he is.”

Scioscia said the important part is communication, and that is he’s hopeful Hamilton is getting the help and support he needs.

Major League Baseball will not discipline Hamilton for his self-reported relapse. A four-person treatment board created by the sport’s joint drug program with the union deadlocked on whether Hamilton was subject to discipline, and an arbitrator appointed to break the tie ruled he was not.

Angels owner Arte Moreno indicated last Friday before his team’s home opener that Hamilton might not play for Los Angeles again. Hamilton is owed $83 million over the final three seasons of a $125 million, five-year deal the 2010 AL MVP signed as a free agent after being an All-Star in each of his five seasons (2008-12) with the Rangers.

But Hamilton wasn’t issued a locker in the Angels home clubhouse last weekend, and merchandise bearing his name and number was pulled from souvenir shops at the stadium.

Scioscia, in his 16th season as the Angels manager, said his plans to communicate with Hamilton while in Houston are not out of the norm for how he handles any player who is away from the team.

”Over my course here, you always would check in on a player. If he was doing rehab offsite, if you were in that town, you would stop in and see him,” Scioscia said. ”I’ve done with a lot of players over the years.”