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- Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton has admitted to a cocaine relapse, per CBS Sports.
- MLB officials met with Hamilton to discuss the matter on Feb. 25.
Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton admitted to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman’s source that he had a cocaine relapse during the current MLB offseason. Major League MLB officials met with Hamilton on Feb. 25 to discuss a possible disciplinary action.
Josh Hamilton has admitted to a cocaine relapse.
A Major League Baseball (MLB) source divulged the information to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman on Feb. 26. According to the report, the Los Angeles Angels left fielder “confessed to going on a binge that invovled cocaine a couple months ago.”
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal asked a baseball executive if Hamilton’s offense is performance-enhancing drug (PED) related. The person said “worse” without going into further detail.
The CBS Sports update adds there is currently no information whether Hamilton has failed a drug test or not. MLB spokesman Patrick courtney did not comment on the matter while Hamilton’s agent Michael Moye didn’t return a call.
The Los Angeles Times’ Mike DiGiovana reported on Wednesday that MLB officials summoned Hamilton to their New York office “about a disciplinary issue.” Angels manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed his ace left fielder did go to the meeting, but did not elaborate any further.
Dipoto said,”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.”
Josh Hamilton reportedly relapses in his sobriety & has confessed cocaine use to @MLB http://t.co/lDobVUIgrx pic.twitter.com/2fWecYblWP— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) February 26, 2015
It’s possible Hamilton would be classified as a first-time offender at the MLB level. Once the league treats him as such, it will put him into a program “subject to increased testing,” CBS Sports goes on to say. He is already being tested thrice a week.
Bill Shaikin of However, The Los Angeles Times (via CBS Sports) says it is “unlikely” Hamilton will be classified as a first-time offender.
Hamilton said his cocaine and alcohol use stemmed from a traffic accident 14 years ago, per The New York Daily News’ Bill Madden and Michael O’Keeffe. As a result of his drug and alcohol abuse, he served a two-year suspension from 2003 to 2005 in the minor leagues.
Madden and O’Keeffe point out Hamilton previously suffered two relapses in 2009 and 2012 as a member of the Texas Rangers. However, he escaped discipline from then-MLB commissioner Bud Selig because he did not violate the league’s drug policy.
DiGiovana says former Cincinnati Reds coach and current Los Angeles Angels Triple-A hitting coach Johnny Narron was Hamilton’s former accountability partner, whose job was to keep an eye on the troubled slugger and prevent him from suffering another relapse. They shared rooms during Spring Training and slept in adjacent hotel rooms whenver they were on the road.
Narron was around when Hamilton had his first relapse in Jan. 2009. Back then, DiGiovana notes Hamilton “snuck out his apartment window and drank alcohol at a Tempe, Ariz. bar.” The Rangers, whom Hamilton played for at the time, concealed the incident until photos of Hamilton dancing with three young women at the same Arizona bar went viral.
Hamilton’s second relapse three years later was at a Dallas bar where he drank alcohol, per The Los Angeles Times.
Exclusive: Josh Hamilton mentor tells @BNightengale the Angels outfielder should retire: http://t.co/UTnRIocyoG— USATODAYmlb (@USATODAYmlb) February 26, 2015
Hamilton’s teammate and 2014 American League MVP Mike Trout expressed sympathy for him, per FOX Sports. He said,”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…I know that he’s going through a lot.”
Angels starting pitcher C.J. Wilson, one of Hamilton’s best friends, told FOX Sports he supports the beleaguered outfielder. He said,”I support him as a person. 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.”
The 33-year-old Hamilton is currently staying at a friend’s ranch in Houston while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The Angels projected him to be their cleanup hitter for this season. He is in the third year of a five-year, $125 million deal and was slated to earn $25 million in 2015, per DiGiovana.
Hamilton eventually bounced back from his two suspensions to hit an average of 28 home runs and 101 RBIs on a .305 batting average for the Rangers from 2008 to 2012, DiGiovana adds. He was a key player for Texas in its back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. Hamilton eventually won American League MVP honors during the former year.
Since he committed to the Angels two years ago, Hamilton has largely underperformed. He has hit just .255 with 31 home runs, 123 RBIs and 266 strikeouts during that span, per The Los Angeles Times.
DiGiovana says Hamilton keeps an offseason home in Dallas. The Angels outfielder’s wife Katie and their four daughters stayed with him in Los Angeles whenever the team played at home last season.
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