The Texas Rangers sorely miss Josh Hamilton’s production and protection in the lineup, ability to cover ground in the outfield, yet as badly as this club needs him he is still the hot girl that is completely not worth the headache, or the drama.
I was reminded of that just walking into the visiting clubhouse at The Ballpark in Arlington today, and asking former Rangers pitcher C.J. Wilson about Hamilton.
“Anything I have said about that I have said already,” C.J. told me.
I asked C.J. if he would mind repeating some of those things.
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“You can Google it,” he said. “There is this thing called the Internet.”
(This is Wilson’s personality - he’s just that way, and God knows I should be the last person to take exception to such a response.)
On their first trip to Arlington this season, the Angels are without their $25 million-a-year center fielder because he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Hamilton also admitted he suffered a relapse in his long fight against substance abuse, which an arbitrator ruled was somehow not in violation of MLB’s substance abuse policy.
I asked Angels manager Mike Scioscia this morning when was the last time he saw Hamilton.
“When the season ended,” he said. “Nobody has. I’ve talked to Josh, but that’s not uncommon.”
That’s true. Scioscia has said he expects/hopes to be in contact with Hamilton soon. Hamilton is reportedly rehabbing in Houston, where the Angels will be for a three-game set beginning April 17. From the sounds of it, these two sides are oceans apart, and the Angels have little idea how/what their outfielder is doing in terms of rehabbing his shoulder, or rehabbing his addiction.
I asked Scioscia if he is worried about Hamilton. The following is his exact response: “Uhh ... I’m ... I’m, uhh ... I’m going to be ... uhh ... I’m going to feel if I better if I think .. if there ... uhh ... if I think there is that support group there and he is getting that help, the help, that he needs. I’ll feel ... I ‘ll feel better about that.”
Translation - hell yes.
Scioscia is in the middle of a nasty fight between the player and the team. Hamilton, according to reports, was not issued a locker in spring training and the club has pulled all Hamilton-related merchandise from the shelves. Angels management - namely owner Arte Moreno - expressed confusion at MLB’s lack of suspension, and may void the remainder of Hamilton’s contract. He is due $83 million over the next three years. Expect the MLB union to fight the Angels.
Wilson told Orange County Register Dodgers/Angels’ writer Pedro Moura: “If Josh was hitting .300 with 35 home runs a year, what’s the situation?” Wilson also said. “If you’re good, you get away with everything. That’s all there is to it.”
Since signing with the Angels, Hamilton has not been good enough. As an Angel, he has appeared in 240 games and batted .255 with 31 home runs and 123 RBI. Before this season, he had missed 84 games with the Angels. He has also been a total migraine, drama mamma.
Said Scioscia: “I’ve talked to some players about it. This has been a process for all of us. We have to concentrate what is here and how we need to play the game. That is where our focus needs to be. That player-to-player bond is strong and it’s strong in our clubouse. It doesn’t surprise me that some guys would wonder about that. it’s no distraction.”
Scioscia said he has no idea when Hamilton could return.
Wilson is right - if you are good, you get away with everything. The moment you can no longer bring it, but still bring the drama, get out.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760