The Early Lead
Posted at 02:58 PM ET, 02/03/2012

Josh Hamilton apologizes for drinking relapse

Josh Hamilton apologizes for his relapse. (LM Otero / AP)
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who has battled issues with drugs and alcohol, apologized for a relapse in which he had “three or four” drinks earlier this week.

“You all know how hard I work on the field, I give it everything I have,” an emotional Hamilton said in a press conference Friday at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. “When I don’t do that off the field, I leave myself open for a weak moment. I had a weak moment on Monday night.”

Hamilton “ended up ordering a drink ... probably had three or four drinks, ended up calling [Rangers teammate] Ian Kinsler, to just kind of come out and hang out with me. Ian did not know I had been drinking.

Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP, said he drank because of “a personal reason with a family member.” “It was just wrong. That's all it comes down to," Hamilton said. “I needed to be at a different place. I needed to be responsible. I was not responsible. Those actions of mine have hurt a lot of people I'm very close to.”

Hamilton said he had not taken drugs and has been tested twice since Monday. He is routinely tested by the Rangers and was suspended for more than three years — missing the 2004 and ’05 seasons — because of drug and alcohol use while he was in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. This is his second alcohol-related relapse since January 2009.

“I did not drink in front of him,” Hamilton said of Kinsler. “We finished up at this restaurant that was closing and decided to go across the street to another place that stayed open. We talked baseball, family, life, all these things.”

(LM Otero / AP)
Kinsler left after about 30 minutes. “His words were: ‘I'll see you later. Don't go back out or anything, all right?’ ” Hamilton said. “I did exactly what I told him I wouldn't do. I went back to the place we had just left and had some more drinks.”

Hamilton said he knows his recovery depends upon his vigilance.

“I cannot take a break from my recovery. My recovery is Christ. My recovery is an everyday process. When I take that one day off, it leaves me open for a moment of weakness and it's always been that way,” Hamilton said. “For everybody that I've hurt, for fans, kids, people that have addictions that look up to me, I apologize to you. When you're doing this, you don't mean to hurt anybody, but you're only thinking it hurts yourself, but I know it hurt a lot of people.”

Hamilton’s wife, Katie, tweeted: “Truly appreciate all the encouraging & supportive tweets we've been getting. God is Faithful and forgives- so thankful that you all are Showing us such love and encouragement during this time.”


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