DALLAS – Texas Rangers outfielder and recovering drug addict Josh Hamilton scheduled a news conference for Friday amid reports that he had a relapse this week when he drank alcohol at a Dallas-area bar.
The team did not disclose the reason for the 1 p.m. CST news conference, but it comes less than 12 hours after The Dallas Morning News reported that Hamilton was drinking at the bar on Monday. The newspaper cited unidentified "individuals familiar with the episode" in its report late Thursday.
In a statement to the newspaper, the Rangers said they were "aware of a situation, but we don't have further comment at this time."
In a tweet on her account, Hamilton's wife, Katie, wrote: "Truly appreciate all the encouraging & supportive tweets we've been getting. God is Faithful and forgives- so thankful that you all are."
The 30-year-old player was suspended for more than three years for drug and alcohol use while in the Tampa Bay organization. He missed the entire 2004 and 2005 seasons. He won the AL MVP in 2010.
This was Hamilton's second known alcohol-related relapse in three years. In January 2009, he drank to excess in a bar in Tempe, Ariz. Before that, Hamilton said he hadn't taken a drink of alcohol since Oct. 6, 2005.
When the Rangers acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds on Dec. 21, 2007, they were aware of Hamilton's off-the-field problems and had a zero-tolerance policy regarding his drinking.
He is tested for drug use three times a week and has had an accountability partner to support him in his recovery — though that job is now vacant.
Hitting coach Johnny Narron filled the role before he left in November for Milwaukee. Narron joined the Rangers when Hamilton was acquired four years ago in a trade from Cincinnati. His primary role was to support the former No. 1 overall draft pick, who rebounded from his substance-abuse problems to become one of the top players in baseball.
The Rangers announced last month that Hamilton's father-in-law had been hired as a staff special assistant to be the accountability partner. But Michael Dean Chadwick has since decided against accepting that position because of "family considerations."
Hamilton can become a free agent after this season and has said he will not negotiate an extension after he reports to spring training. He had planned to leave for spring training on Feb. 17, a full week before the full-squad reporting date in Arizona.