MLB Star Josh Hamilton Reportedly Suffers Relapse

By McCarton Ackerman 02/27/15

The once feel-good story of Hamilton's recovery from addiction has taken a dark turn.

Josh Hamilton
Wiki Commons

Josh Hamilton’s story of recovery and redemption has taken a tragic turn after the baseball star reportedly admitted to Major League Baseball officials that he relapsed.

Newsday reported that Michael Chadwick, Hamilton’s father-in-law, said the baseball star hit “a bump in the road.” A spokesman for the Los Angeles Angels confirmed that Hamilton was meeting with MLB officials in New York to address a “disciplinary issue,” but no other details were given. Sources claim his alleged relapse took place two months ago and involved both cocaine and alcohol.

Although a positive drug test would leave him classified as a first-time offender since his previous offenses occurred when he was in the minor leagues, it’s doubtful he would be treated as one. Some of Hamilton’s closest allies have even suggested the alleged slip is a sign to retire.

"He needs to get his life back in order. Even three years ago, I told Josh that you might want to consider retirement,” said Roy Silver, one of Hamilton’s closest friends and a mentor in his struggle with drug addiction. "It seems like he's struggling with things. When you've been given three, four and five chances, and it's still not working, it's best to say, ‘This is it.' His life isn't over, but his baseball career should be.''

Hamilton missed the 2002-06 seasons while recovering from addiction, but was officially suspended from 2003-2005 because of his drug issues. He later made a triumphant return to baseball by helping the Texas Rangers make the World Series in 2010 and 2011, and winning American League MVP Honors in 2010.

But after signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels just before the 2013 season, his results dropped significantly. Hamilton underwent right shoulder surgery earlier this month and is expected to be sidelined until May.

Silver insinuated that anxiety and depression could be contributing to his reported struggles, but said that Hamilton could turn things around once again.

"I just hope that he has not isolated himself where he has nowhere to go and trust. This shouldn't be heartbreaking," said Silver. "He has his whole life to live.''

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.