An hour and a half after Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton met the media to address the fact that, yes, he did have a few drinks earlier this week, team general manager Jon Daniels hopped on the phone with local media. Hamilton took no questions; Daniels had no choice. And almost immediately, a reporter asked the inevitable: Will revelations that Hamilton has once more succumbed to his addiction affect his future as a Texas Ranger?
"I just want to be clear on something: This is not a baseball story," Daniels said, his voice clear and firm. "This is something that is real, that Josh deals with -- an addiction." The GM said that for now, at least, the team is separating Hamilton's relapse from any talks of a contract extension.
"You can't completely do that, I understand," he allowed. "But we have more important things to deal with."
It's Hamilton's second public relapse in three years, the last occurring in January 2009 in Arizona. Daniels acknowledged the parallels of the two relapses, as January is generally the most unstructured part of the year for baseball players.
Still, Daniels was both fiercely loyal and coy through the conference. Although he admitted speaking to Hamilton on Tuesday about his star's Monday relapse, he didn't divulge whether the Rangers would take disciplinary action, saying it largely depended on Hamilton's trip to New York to be evaluated by the MLB's substance abuse program.
Earlier, at a packed-house press conference at the Ballpark, Hamilton called his relapse "a moment of weakness" that happened because of a "personal reason with a family member." He would expound on the drinking, but not what led to it. And he took no questions.
Hamilton was contrite as he sat in front of dozens of reporters and cameramen capturing the slugger's confession. He apologized to his family, wife Katie and their three daughters; to his friends; to his teammates and fans.
He said he was out at dinner and had three or four drinks before calling Ian Kinsler, asking him to meet at Sherlock's. Hamilton and Daniels maintained that Hamilton didn't drink in front of Kinsler, and Kinsler didn't know he had been drinking. Hamilton said he'd passed two drug tests this week.
"It was just wrong. That's all it comes down to," Hamilton said. "I needed to be at a different place. I needed to be responsible. I was not responsible. Those actions of mine have hurt a lot of people I'm very close to."
That includes Rangers higher-ups.
"We're a family," Daniels said about his team. "When someone in your family has an issue, makes a mistake, screws up, however you want to call it, there are a lot of emotions involved. The overriding emotion was concern for Josh and his family. The first thought was to make sure everyone is OK."
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