February 3, 2012

Josh Hamilton on relapse: 'It was just wrong'

The Texas Rangers table contract negotiations after the star outfielder admits to relapse with alcohol.

Josh Hamilton came clean Friday about his relapse with alcohol, clearing teammate Ian Kinsler of any wrongdoing and praising the Texas Rangers for the support they have given since his “weak moment” Monday.

Hamilton did not take any questions during a news conference at Rangers Ballpark, but gave a statement that covered 12 minutes and many of the details that took place at two restaurants in North Dallas.

He consumed multiple drinks, though none in the presence of Kinsler, and the drinking eventually led to behavior that he said he regrets and was hurtful toward his family.

His focus has returned to his plan to stay sober, which starts with his faith and is aided by reaching out to his support network during times when he isn’t as strong as he needs to be.

“It was just wrong,” said Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP. “That’s all it comes down to. I needed to be in a different place. I needed to be responsible at that moment, that day, period, and I was not responsible. Those actions of mine have hurt a lot of people that are very close to me.”

The Rangers, meanwhile, are preparing for more fallout from the incident with Hamilton, who has been battling addictions to drugs and alcohol that started nearly 10 years ago.

General manager Jon Daniels said that the club has tabled negotiations toward a contract extension with Hamilton, who can become a free agent after the season, and will consider Hamilton’s on-field and off-field actions when talks resume.

The club will also wait to consider if it will discipline Hamilton until he is evaluated by doctors with Major League Baseball. He is not subject to penalties from MLB for his second public slip with alcohol in the past three years.

But the first thought within the organization is to make sure that Hamilton and his wife, Katie, and their daughters are doing well.

“There are a number of emotions, a number of thoughts,” said Daniels, who was informed of the relapse Tuesday morning by Hamilton’s agent, Mike Moye. “We view ourselves as a family, and when somebody in your family has an issue, makes a mistake there are a lot of emotions involved.

“One of them was a sense of disappointment, but the overriding emotion and the overriding thought in our minds is concern for Josh and especially for his family.”

Hamilton said that his night started with dinner and three or four drinks after a disagreement with a family member. He invited Kinsler to join him, but said he did not consume any alcohol in front of Kinsler either upon his arrival or after they went to another restaurant nearby, believed to be Sherlock’s Baker St. Pub & Grill, for about 30 minutes.

According to Hamilton, the teammates talked about baseball, family and life in general before Kinsler drove him back to the initial restaurant, which had closed.

“He said, ‘I’ll see you later. You’re not going to go back out or anything, are you?’ ” Hamilton recalled. “ ‘I said, ‘No,’ and then, ‘I’m good.’ Then, I did exactly what I told him I wouldn’t do. And so I went back out to the place we had just left.”

Hamilton continued to drink, at which point, he insinuated, that his behavior became inappropriate and he did things that he regrets. However, he said that he did not seek out or use any banned substances.

“No drugs were used at all. Never thought about it,” Hamilton said. “I’ve had two drug tests since Monday, so I have no concerns there at all.

“Anytime I drink, there is a point that comes where the switch flips. You never know when it might be reached, the first three or four, or the 15th, and that’s what’s so dangerous about it.

“So, anyway ... things happened that me, personally, I’m not proud of after I drank, and they are personal and are being handled as that. There was no pictures taken of me having a beer with somebody or anything like that, but I did take pictures with people.”

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