August 08, 2009
Josh Hamilton's(notes) ongoing struggles with addiction just experienced a little more turbulence with the self-revelation that the Texas Rangers slugger slipped up from his recovery and drank alcohol in an Arizona bar earlier this year.
On Saturday morning, Deadspin posted 12 revealing photos of Hamilton on what the website said was a wild night in a Tempe, Ariz., bar before the season. In the shots, Hamilton is pictured with several young women and can be seen without a shirt in several of the photos.
Hamilton is never pictured drinking or doing drugs, but he can be seen lying shirtless on the bar while the women cover him with whipped cream and do body shots off his stomach.
Hamilton immediately addressed the media in Anaheim, where the Rangers are preparing to play the Angels, and admitted to drinking that night. He says the incident was a one-time thing and happened in January, not March as previously reported by Deadspin.
"I'm embarrassed about it," said Hamilton, who is married and has children. "I can't have alcohol. It's a realization. It's amazing how those things creep back in.
"I am a human. I still have struggles."
The Deadspin story, written by A.J. Daulerio, reports Hamilton as being "pretty wrecked," but did not name any sources, either for the information or photos. The identities of all other subjects in the photos are concealed by black bars placed over their eyes.
Though ballplayers usually don't hold press conferences to discuss their night time activities, this is a huge story in Major League Baseball, given Hamilton's much-publicized fight against a drug addiction that almost derailed his talented baseball career.
Last season, the former No. 1 draft pick became a national tale of inspiration after hitting 28 home runs in the second round of last year's Home Run Derby at old Yankee Stadium. During the offseason, Hamilton toured with hs best-selling book "Beyond Belief: Finding The Strength To Come Back" and drew many dedicated followers with his story of using his faith in God while battling his addiction and fighting his way back into the major leagues.
Hamilton has said he stopped using drugs on Oct. 6, 2005. He has been an All-Star starter for the past two seasons, but he's struggled with injuries in 2009. In 62 games, he's posted a .235 average with eight homers and 33 RBIs.
Yahoo! Sports baseball reporter Jeff Passan is in Anaheim and will be providing more on this story later in the day.