Report: Josh Hamilton had a relapse with alcohol

Big League Stew

Texas Rangers star Josh Hamilton has experienced a relapse in his ongoing battle against substance abuse, the Dallas Morning News reported on Thursday night.

Reporter Gerry Fraley credits sources for relaying that Hamilton was spotted drinking in an Dallas-area bar.

Update: Fraley later added that teammate Ian Kinsler also appeared at the bar in an "attempt to persuade Hamilton to return to his home in Westlake."

Fraley also acquired a statement from the team that acknowledged the story, but did not confirm it. Hamilton made headlines in the summer of 2009 after pictures of him drinking and partying in an Arizona bar made their way onto Deadspin.

From the DMN:

According to individuals familiar with the episode, Hamilton drank alcohol on Monday night in an area bar. The circumstances that led to Hamilton's use of alcohol could not be determined.

In a statement, the Rangers said they were "aware of a situation, but we don't have further comment at this time."

Given his stature as an athlete and the outspoken nature of his faith, I'd venture to guess that Hamilton might be the most scrutinized addict on the planet. It's one thing for a rock star or actress to relapse, it's quite another for a star center fielder because you can't delay a 162-game season as easily as an album or movie. Hamilton's approaching free agency also plays a role in the attention as well as he'll be asking for big dollars after the 2012 season. Addiction may be a disease, but the Rangers committing eight or nine figures toward his future isn't a mandatory requirement for showing sympathy.

Hamilton was very forthcoming about his last publicized relapse and I'm guessing he'll approach this story the same way, no matter what the circumstances were. Those are some pretty strong demons he's fighting and he'll likely be very upfront for the strength and support he's seeking as he continues to battle them.

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