TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) – Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton was on the minds of his teammates Thursday, a day after he was in New York to meet with Major League Baseball officials about an unspecified disciplinary issue.
The 33-year-old Hamilton has a history of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, leading to suspensions that cost him more than three years while in the minors. The Angels have confirmed Hamilton’s meeting with MLB, but have declined to give any more information.
“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.
Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hasn’t reported to spring training in Arizona after undergoing surgery on his right shoulder earlier this month.
“He’s not here in camp with us,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said. “He is at home rehabbing from the surgery and we’re going to leave it at that.”
Hamilton already was expected to be out until after the regular season begins because of the surgery.
“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 entering the third season of a five-year, $125 million contract. He is still owed $83 million: $23 million this year and $30 million in each of the next two seasons.
Hamilton has been a disappointment for the Angels, batting just .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in 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.