Hamilton apologizes for drinking alcohol
Rangers outfielder says he had 'weak moment' in addiction battle
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, long engaged in a battle against drug and alcohol addiction, publicly apologized for his actions on Monday, when he consumed alcohol in two Dallas establishments.Hamilton spoke for about 12 minutes Friday at a news conference at the Ballpark in Arlington, after which he did not take questions. He said no drugs were involved and he has had two drug tests since then. He also confirmed that teammate Ian Kinsler was with him at one point during the evening, but not when he was drinking. "To everybody I hurt, everybody, fans, kids, people who have addictions who look up to me, I apologize," Hamilton said. "When you're doing this, you don't mean to hurt anybody. You're only hurting yourself. But as I know, I hurt a lot of people. "I feel terrible about this, let a lot of people down. The last four days I really beat myself up. There's nobody that feels worse than I do. I'm going to do everything I can to lean on some shoulders so hopefully I can get back to the point where people will lean on me." Hamilton and his agent Mike Moye have been discussing a long-term contract extension with the Rangers. Hamilton can be a free agent after the upcoming season and set the beginning of Spring Training as a deadline. Those discussions will be put on hold for now. "It would be nice if we were talking about a contract," Hamilton said. "We'll put that on the backburner for a while." Instead, Hamilton said he will fly to New York in the near future to meet with doctors both for Major League Baseball and the Players Association. He said he will do everything he can to make the situation right again. "It was just wrong," Hamilton said. "That's all it comes down to. I needed to be responsible, period, and I was not responsible. Those actions hurt a lot of people who are very close to me. "I understand I'm going to do everything I can, take all the steps necessary, whatever the steps may be, whether it be going to counseling, talk[ing] to somebody. Everything is open at this point. I don't want you guys knowing everybody out there who's watching or going to read about this thinks he's fine with it, he's not hurt by it. "Well I am hurt by it tremendously, more so for my wife and my kids and the Rangers organization. They've been nothing but great. I appreciate everything they've done, supporting me." Hamilton said he had a "moment of weakness" with a family member on Monday night. Afterward, he went to dinner at a Dallas restaurant. He said he had "three or four" drinks during dinner and then called Kinsler and asked the second baseman to join him. Kinsler did and they went to another establishment across the street. "Ian did not know I had been drinking," Hamilton said. "Once I do drink, I can be very deceptive, very sneaky in a lot of ways, so while he was there I did not drink in front of him. When we finished at this restaurant, we go across the street ... talking baseball, talking life, how our families were doing." Hamilton said he did not drink in front of Kinsler at the bar. They left and Kinsler drove Hamilton to his car. Kinsler asked Hamilton if he was all right and if he was going home. Hamilton said he assured Kinsler that he was. "His words were, 'I'll see you later. You're not going to go back out again, are you?'" Hamilton said. "I said no. Then I did exactly what I told him I wouldn't do. I went back out to the place we just left, had some more drinks." Hamilton said he never thought about using drugs that night. "It doesn't excuse the fact that I was doing something that doesn't work for me," Hamilton said. "It was just wrong and that's all it comes down to. I needed to be in a different place, I needed to be responsible at that moment, that period, and I was not responsible, so those actions of mine have hurt a lot of people that are very close to me."
Rangers officials said they are committed to standing behind Hamilton and supporting him through what is a second relapse since they acquired him from the Reds four years ago. Hamilton had a relapse in January 2009 when he was found drinking heavily in a Tempe, Ariz., bar just before Spring Training.Hamilton immediately reported the incident, passed a drug test, underwent counseling and was not disciplined by the Rangers or Major League Baseball. There had been no reported incidents since then until word of another relapse on Monday surfaced. "After this happens and praying about it, I cannot take a break from my recovery," Hamilton said. "My recovery is Christ. My recovery is an everyday process, because when I take that one day off, it leaves me open for that moment of weakness and it's always been that way." Hamilton, 30, has been an American League All-Star in each of his four seasons with the Rangers and was the AL Most Valuable Player in 2010.
When he was acquired from the Reds, the Rangers hired Johnny Narron to be his mentor and "accountability partner." Narron, who has a long-standing relationship with Hamilton going back to his time growing up in North Carolina, was hired by the Brewers this offseason to be their hitting coach.The Rangers have not replaced him as far as finding another accountability partner. Hamilton's father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, was hired briefly, but had to step down because of family concerns.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.