Hamilton Joins Rangers After Substance-Abuse Relapse With Angels

MLB Player Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton, was an All-Star in each of his five seasons in Texas, batting .305 with 142 home runs and 506 runs batted in during that span. Photographer: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Josh Hamilton said he’s ready to get back on the baseball field again after being traded to the Texas Rangers, the team he helped to back-to-back World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.

The Angels on Monday traded Hamilton, 33, to the Rangers for a player to be named or cash, severing ties to the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player after he told Major League Baseball officials during the offseason that he had a relapse in his recovery from substance abuse.

“When it was made clear to me the Angels wanted to move me, my first choice was the Rangers,” Hamilton said at a news conference. “I have a lot of good memories here. Looking back on it, if I could change the past, I would have stayed here.”

Hamilton was an All-Star in each of his five seasons in Texas, batting .305 and totaling 142 home runs and 506 runs batted in. After joining the Angels with a 5-year, $125 million contract in 2013, he hit .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs over two injury-marred seasons. Hamilton hasn’t played this year while recovering from a Feb. 3 shoulder surgery.

“I’m not over the hill,” said Hamilton, who has been working out at a friend’s house in Houston. “I just got my shoulder cleaned up along with some other things that have been bothering me the past few years. I feel really good in my mental state of mind and physical well-being.”

Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton might be able to join the team in mid-May after spending time in extended spring training in Arizona and then on a medical rehabilitation assignment in the minor leagues.

Hamilton wasn’t disciplined by MLB after an arbitrator ruled that he hadn’t violated a treatment program, a ruling that Angels President John Carpino said “defies logic.” The Angels started talking with the Rangers about a trade during spring training, according to MLB.com.

“I haven’t been the player they wanted me to be, but I have worked my butt off to be that player,” Hamilton said. “I had some unfortunate injuries. I’m doing my best to eliminate distractions and be the best player I can be. I don’t feel I have anything to prove to anybody.”

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