Los Angeles Angels beat writer Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times is reporting that Josh Hamilton has traveled to New York to meet with Major League Baseball officials about an unspecified disciplinary issue. According to DiGiovanna, Angels GM Jerry Dipoto has confirmed that Hamilton is meeting with league officials in New York but did not offer any other details.
Ken Rosenthal is reporting that he asked a baseball executive if Hamilton’s discipline was for PEDs, and he was told that it is “worse.”
The Angels have already been preparing to start the season without Hamilton, who had shoulder surgery three weeks ago and is expected to be out until at least May. If he faces a suspension in this matter, they are likely to be without his services for at least the first half of the season.
Because of Hamilton’s history, it is easy to speculate that the current issue is related to his previous problems with drugs of abuse. If that is the case, it will be another sad chapter in the up-and-down career a supremely talented player. Hamilton was picked first overall in the 1999 draft, ahead of notable stars Josh Beckett, Barry Zito, and Ben Sheets. He didn’t make his Major League debut until 2007 because of personal problems, including a suspension that kept him out of baseball entirely for the 2003-2005 seasons. Hamilton played in only 266 minor league games over eight seasons before being taken by Cincinnati in the 2006 Rule 5 draft. As a Rule 5 draftee, the Reds were required to keep him on the Major League roster for all of 2007, and he performed much better than expected, putting up a 131 OPS+ in 331 plate appearances.
After the 2007 season, the Reds traded Hamilton to the Texas Rangers for Danny Herrera and Edinson Volquez, and Hamilton became a star. He hit 142 home runs over five seasons for the Rangers, winning the 2010 American League MVP and leading Texas to 2010 and 2011 World Series berths. He signed as a free agent with the Angels after the 2012 season, but his two years in Anaheim have been filled with injuries and ineffectiveness.
Hamilton will turn 34 in May, and with the clock already working against him, it appears that he has hit another major bump in the road.