Angels GM contradicts Scioscia on start of Hamilton workouts in Ariz.

April 21, 2015

Josh Hamilton's first step in his attempt to rejoin the Angels may take a little longer than what manager Mike Scioscia expected.

Scioscia told reporters on Tuesday that Hamilton would report to Arizona for extended spring training "later this week."

"Every day hopefully will bring a little more clarity to the situation," Scioscia told The Associated Press.

However, the Angels manager may have jumped the gun on those comments.


Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto says his manager's wording was incorrect, according to reports, and no date has been set for Hamilton to report to Arizona.

The Angels outfielder has been in Houston rehabbing on his own, following offseason shoulder surgery as well as recovering from a drug and alcohol relapse.

Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and 2010 AL MVP, learned recently that Major League Baseball would not discipline him for his self-reported relapse into substance abuse. He has a full no-trade clause in his five-year, $125 million contract, and is still owed $83 million through the 2017 season.

"Hopefully he'll make that transition to his baseball activities and get into rehab games and see where it goes," Scioscia told The AP. "What's best for Josh is what's best for us. That's where the focus is."

Hamilton has been a hot topic around baseball after an arbitrator ruled he would not be disciplined for his relapse.

Scioscia declined comment when asked if Hamilton was getting the proper help and support he needs, but said it's in the Angels organization's interest to provide it.

"The priority for what we're about is to get a player whole, and that takes help and support which, up until now, we weren't sure it was being provided with Josh," Scioscia told FOX Sports West. "I think that there's an effort now for us to make sure it's provided to get him where he needs to be to take the challenge of playing in the major leagues which, we know, is not easy. It's stressful."

Hamilton's locker at Angel Stadium is currently being used by second baseman Johnny Giavotella, and there is no merchandise in the Angels' souvenir shop with his name or likeness.

Angels owner Arte Moreno said shortly after the season began that the language in Hamilton's contract gives the team an out if he has a relapse of the drug and alcohol problems that plagued him all the way back to the beginning of his big-league career. The Players Association disputed those claims.

"I think the initial comments from John (Carpino, the Angels' president) and Jerry (Dipoto) and Arte all addressed the issue of the joint drug agreement, and the frustration of how the drug agreement does not provide a player with the help and support and the resources he needs," Scioscia told the AP.

"Josh is an extreme case that probably tested the limits of a lot of programs, but that was what we were left with. Our organization has always had players' best interests at heart. The issue was addressing the needs of a player, and to some extent, the burden is on us to get it done. And that's what's happening now."

Scioscia was a Dodgers teammate of the late Steve Howe, who also had abused drug and alcohol. But he declined to compare the two situations.

"This disease is just hideous and tough to deal with," Scioscia told The AP.

On the field, the Angels have struggled at the plate, hitting just .214 as a team entering Tuesday.

Collin Cowgill and Matt Joyce, who have spent the majority of the time in left field in Hamilton's absence this season, are hitting .192 and .167, respectively. Efren Navarro was hitting just .200 in limited action before being sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday.

C.J. Cron, who's made nine starts as the team's designated hitter, is hitting just .129 after hitting .413 in spring training.

Hamilton hit .263 last season — the second lowest of his career.

Scioscia says the club "has a lot of confidence" in what Hamilton can still do on the field provided that he's a "whole person" again.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.