Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP who has battled addiction to drugs and alcohol for nearly a decade, had a relapse with alcohol Monday night at a bar in Dallas.
Multiple baseball sources confirmed the situation Thursday night. The Rangers have known for at least two days and have informed Major League Baseball, which previously has recommended that Hamilton avoid alcohol but doesn't ban him drinking.
Hamilton is tested three times a week for banned substances and has never failed a drug test.
"We are aware of a situation but have no further comment at this time," a club official said.
KTVT/Channel 11 reported Thursday that second baseman Ian Kinsler was seen with Hamilton at Sherlock's Pub in North Dallas. A source, though, said that Kinsler went there only after receiving a call from Hamilton.
This marks the second known relapse Hamilton has had since quitting drugs and alcohol. Hamilton drank alcohol in January 2009 in a bar in Tempe, Ariz. Photographs from the night surfaced on the Internet in August 2009 while the Rangers were playing at Anaheim.
He addressed the situation the next day and confirmed it was his first relapse since Oct. 6, 2005, the day he said he found a Bible at his grandmother's home in North Carolina and surrendered to a higher power.
"I wasn't mentally fit to go in there, spiritually fit, and it just crossed my mind, 'Can I have a drink?' And, obviously, I can't," Hamilton said Aug. 8, 2009. "That was very well reinforced, and I can honestly say since that night I have not even had a thought of trying another one."
The second relapse has coincided with the Rangers closing in on hiring an accountability partner for Hamilton. He had been accompanied by Johnny Narron on road trips since breaking into the major leagues in 2007 with Cincinnati.
Narron left the Rangers in November to become the hitting coach in Milwaukee, and the Rangers hired Michael Dean Chadwick, Hamilton's father-in-law, last month.
Chadwick, though, backed out 10 days later to concentrate on his family and business in North Carolina. Hamilton said then that he didn't believe he needed an accountability partner. The Rangers, a source said, were expecting to announce the new hire next week.
The Rangers and Hamilton have also been in the process of negotiating a long-term extension to keep him from hitting free agency after the season.
Tampa Bay selected Hamilton with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft, but he started using cocaine as a minor-leaguer in 2001. He failed multiple drug tests over the next few years and was banned from baseball in 2003.
He was allowed back into the game in 2006 after convincing the commissioner's office of his sobriety. Hamilton made the Reds' Opening Day roster in 2007, and was traded to the Rangers in December 2007.