Los Angeles Angels star outfielder Josh Hamilton has reportedly admitted to a relapse that involved cocaine.
Josh Hamilton has had a history with drug and alcohol abuse. Upon being drafted into the MLB in 1999, Hamilton struggled for years with injury, which led to substance abuse. This all sidelined him until 2007. In his auto-biography titled, Beyond Belief, Hamilton chronicled his journey to the majors, the obstacles that were in his way, and how he got clean and became one of the best hitters in the MLB.
Sadly, according to Jon Heyman, Hamilton has just had a relapse.
After violating the drug use policy the MLB had in place earlier in his career, Hamilton was reinstated by the then-commissioner, Bud Selig. Now, it seems the fate of Hamilton’s MLB eligibility lies in the hands of current commissioner, Rob Manfred (via Jon Morosi.)
Typically for first time offenders of the drug policy, the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program is implemented into a players life. But it is unclear what Manfred will do in the case of Hamilton.
Hamilton’s drug abuse problems came at a time in his life that he was not on a MLB roster, so technically he has no filed offenses against him. Because of this he is outside the bounds the standard program drug abuse users usually qualify for in the MLB.
However, it is widely known and specifically outlined in his autobiography the struggles he has had with drug and alcohol abuse. Because of this, part of Hamilton’s reinstatement by Selig was that he would undergo a drug test every couple of weeks. He also was to travel with an “accountability partner” that would help him resist urges involving substances
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Hamilton also had relapses involving alcohol in 2009 and 2012. In both instances, Hamilton got away from his accountability partner for long enough to go to a bar to have a couple of drinks. These are definitely instances that Manfred will take into account as he reviews the proper punishment for Hamilton failing to comply with drug policies in the MLB.
For the Angel’s, this might mean a number of things. Hamilton is already coming off shoulder surgery, so they were planning on being without former All-Star anyways by signing Matt Jayce in the offseason. But Hamilton could now be suspended anywhere from 15-60 plus games if Manfred decides to place Hamilton under the same punishment as a repeat offender. It is still up in the air as to what will happen with this delicate situation.
Even after a disappointing season in 2014, Hamilton was looking to return and help the Angels reach the World Series like he did for the Texas Rangers in 2010 and 2011. Unfortunately, that attempt at doing so may never happen, at least any time soon. Hopefully for Hamilton, his family, and the Angels, he gets clean and returns to being the slugger baseball fans know and love sooner rather than later.
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