Hamilton Comes Clean on Relapse, Unsavory Photos

Hamilton comes clean about most recent relapse

By Joe Resnick and Frank Heinz
|  Saturday, Aug 8, 2009  |  Updated 8:10 PM PDT
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Centerfielder Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers has come clean about a bar incident in January.

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Hamilton on Unsavory Photos, Falling Off the Wagon

Texas Rangers OF Josh Hamilton talks about unsavory photos that have surfaced showing him on a drinking binge and cavorting with three women.
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Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton once again addressed his troubled history with alcohol abuse, after deadspin.com published photos of him cavorting with several scantily clad women in a bar last January.
 
Hamilton created headlines last season with his inspired comeback from the depths of alcoholism and drug abuse to lead the major leagues in RBIs and nearly win the Home Run Derby.

The photos show the All-Star shirtless, dancing and doing body shots with three handsy women.

The All-Star stood at his locker at Angel Stadium a couple hours before game time Saturday and told about a dozen reporters how much he regretted what had happened at a bar in Tempe, Ariz., and said the morning after the incident he confessed the details of the previous night to his wife and the Texas Rangers, according to a report on TexasRangers.com.

"My first reaction in January was one of concern,"  Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "Since then I've talked to a lot of people and they say it was significant that he came forward immediately and was honest about it. It's not a good situation but he handled it as best he could. All we can do is support him."

"I feel like I've been humbled," Hamilton said. "It is what it is. I got away from the one thing that kept me on the straight and narrow and that was my relationship with the Lord. That should always come first. Hopefully some good will come out of this."

"Maybe this will show people that if they are recovering and make a mistake, it's not the end of the world. You can get back on the right track. Hopefully I can use God's glory to show that I do have struggles. This just lets me know that I need Christ more than ever."
 
Prior to this latest episode, Hamilton hadn't had a drink since Oct. 6, 2005.
 
"Obviously, I'm embarrassed about it for my wife Katie, for my kids and for the organization," he said. "It's an ongoing struggle, and it's real. It's amazing how these things can creep back in. But I am human and I have struggles."

According to a report on TexasRangers.com, Hamilton said he does not believe he used illegal drugs that night, though he admits his recollection of the events are a bit sketchy.

 When the Rangers acquired the 28-year-old outfielder from the Cincinnati Reds on Dec. 21, 2007, they were aware of Hamilton's off-the-field problems and came out with a "zero tolerance" policy regarding his drinking.

  "If I think I can have one drink, I think I can have two, and then it snowballs to 10 or 12," Hamilton said. "As soon as it happened, I called my support staff -- Katie, the organization and MLB -- and told them what happened. I was open and honest about it. People with an addiction can make a mistake."

 Daniels spoke with Hamilton in the clubhouse Saturday before they addressed the media, and said later the tone of their conversation had a different kind of emotion than the one in January because of the time Hamilton's had to think about it.

  "I'd hesitate to say it's something we're going to put behind us, but we're not going to allow this to become a distraction the rest of the season and we'll try to move on as best we can," Daniels said.

  The Rangers, who entered Saturday trailing the Angels by 3½ games in the AL West, have not discussed punitive measures in case there is a recurrence. But Daniels said Hamilton will not be taking a leave of absence.

  "That would be counterproductive," Daniels said. "We knew that going in when we acquired Josh. We know the risks of dealing with someone with substance abuse problems. Ultimately, he's a grown man and he has to make his own decisions. Nobody's here to baby-sit him, but we should help him make the right decisions and help him get through this."

  When asked whether he will make a formal apology to his teammates in private, Hamilton said: "More than likely. I don't necessarily know when it would be, but I won't let it linger too long. What I do off the field affects my teammates and the name of this organization. They know who I am and what I want to accomplish."

The Rangers lost Saturday's game against the Angels -- in which Hamilton went 2-4 (double and a single) at the plate and is batting .239.  The Rangers are 4.5 games behind the Angels in the AL West.  The rubber match for this series is set for 2:35 p.m. Sunday.

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