Report: Angels’ Josh Hamilton had cocaine, alcohol relapse
Angels slugger Josh Hamilton suffered a cocaine and alcohol relapse, according to a New York Daily News report on Thursday.
It was first reported that Hamilton was in New York to meet with MLB officials Wednesday about a disciplinary issue, though it was not known what the issue was.
Angels GM Jerry Dipoto confirmed that Hamilton was in New York to meet with MLB, but declined to offer any further information.
"I can say that Josh is going to meet with league officials in New York. At this point I have no other information to offer," Dipoto told the LA Times.
FOX Sports MLB insider Ken Rosenthal asked a baseball executive whether Hamilton’s discipline was for PEDs. The exec replied, "Worse," then declined to elaborate.
Hamilton’s checkered past is no secret. The former American League MVP was suspended from baseball from 2003-05 and has struggled with cocaine and alcohol addiction in the past.
According to Steven Marcus of Newsday, Hamilton’s father-in-law Michael Chadwick said the outfielder has "hit a bump in the road, keep him in your prayers." Chadwick has helped Hamilton with his substance abuse in the past but "purposefuly" did not speak to his son-in-law prior to his meeting with MLB.
Hamilton hasn’t reported to spring training in Arizona after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this month. He is expected to be out until after the regular season begins.
He is entering the third season of a five-year, $125 million contract. Hamilton has been a disappointment for the Angels, batting just .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBI in two seasons.
Hamilton was on the minds of his teammates Thursday.
”I don’t know any of the details, so I can’t talk about that. But we miss him and we hope everything works out,” MVP outfielder Mike Trout said.
”I know that he’s going through a lot,” Trout said.
”We’ll wait for Major League Baseball and see what the next step is. I don’t think it will serve us any purpose to look too far down the road,” manager Mike Scioscia said.
”We can deal with a lot of hypotheticals and a lot of rumors that are out there, but it’s not going to serve any purpose,” Scioscia said.
Hamilton is still owed $83 million: $23 million this year and $30 million in each of the next two seasons.
Pitcher C.J. Wilson called Hamilton one of his best friends in baseball.
”I support him as a person,” Wilson said. ”When you have something going on, given what Josh has been through, you’re looking out for him as a person first and his family.”
In February 2012 while with Texas, Hamilton acknowledged he’d had a relapse with alcohol. It was his second known alcohol relapse in three years, both occurring in the offseason.
”You all know how hard I play on the field and I give it everything I absolutely have,” Hamilton said at the time. ”When I don’t do that off the field, I leave myself open for a weak moment.”
The overall No. 1 draft pick by Tampa Bay in 1999, Hamilton was suspended for more than three years because of drug and alcohol use while in the Rays’ organization. He missed the entire 2003, 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Hamilton made his big league debut with Cincinnati in 2007. Since making the majors, the Reds, Rangers and Angels have hired people to help Hamilton with his sobriety.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.