Hamilton-to-Rangers chatter gains momentum
Anaheim, Calif. — Reports that troubled Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton might be traded to the Texas Rangers dominated the chatter before the game between the teams Friday night.
When asked about the reports from media outlets that the move could happen in the next few days, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he has had no discussions that Hamilton's status had changed. He said Tuesday that the left fielder was expected to be evaluated at the Angels complex this week when he was expected to report for extended spring training.
The former AL MVP has been recovering from shoulder surgery and missed spring training. He would need to get into baseball shape.
Also, an arbitrator has ruled that Hamilton cannot be disciplined under Major League Baseball's drug agreement for his self-reported relapse into alcohol and cocaine use.
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre and Hamilton were teammates on Texas in 2011-12. He said Friday if Hamilton did return, he'd have his support and that of others.
"Who doesn't need a guy like Josh Hamilton?" Beltre said.
Scioscia said he didn't think the discussion surrounding Hamilton's status has been a problem with the team.
"I don't think it's been a distraction with the guys in that clubhouse," the manager said before the game that the Angels won 3-2. "It's going to be resolved one way or the other in its own time."
On Tuesday Scioscia said it was important that the organization help Hamilton as a person and that would be the first step to help him be ready to play.
Beltre also talked about giving the left-fielder the support he needs.
During the two seasons they were teammates, Hamilton had 68 homers, 222 RBIs and a .291 average while Beltre batted .310 with 68 homers and 207 RBIs.
"We'll do our best to help him think about baseball," said Beltre, who joined the Rangers the year after Hamilton was the AL MVP in 2010. "We know Josh and who he is. We hope he's healthy, his mind is in a good position, and he has the support he needs to be the productive Josh that we all know he can be — the Josh that helped us go to the World Series in 2011."
Hamilton, a five-time All-Star, is in the third season of a $125 million, five-year contract that calls for him to receive $83 million over the final three years. He has a full no-trade clause.
Hamilton's locker at Angel Stadium is being used by second baseman Johnny Giavotella, and there is no merchandise in the Angels' souvenir shop with his name or likeness.
When asked April 10 if Hamilton definitely will play again for Los Angeles, owner Arte Moreno replied: "I will not say that."