Josh Hamilton's status with Angels is still unknown

Josh Hamilton's status with Angels is still unknown
Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton watches from the dugout during a game against the Tampa Bay Rays in August. (Steve Nesius / Associated Press)

Josh Hamilton's status with the Angels remained in question Thursday as the team awaited word from Major League Baseball regarding an unspecified disciplinary issue.

Hamilton met with baseball officials in New York on Wednesday. Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto confirmed the meeting but on Thursday he continued to withhold comment regarding specifics.


Hamilton had shoulder surgery Feb. 4 and team officials have said he was rehabilitating in Texas.

"I'm not going to make any comment on any situation or information regarding Josh Hamilton," Dipoto said. "He's not here in camp with us. He is at home rehabbing from a surgery and we're going to leave it at that."

MLB officials would not comment. Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye, did not return phone messages.

Angels Manager Mike Scioscia and players declined to discuss specifics of Hamilton's situation, but voiced concern and support for the veteran outfielder.

"You're always worried about the well-being of guys on your team and in your organization, and we'll obviously be saying our prayers and hoping things work out," Scioscia said.

Hamilton, 33, is set to earn $25 million this season in the third year of a five-year, $125-million contract. His recovery from surgery was expected to sideline him until at least May.

Hamilton had a severe addiction to cocaine and alcohol that led to a three-year suspension from baseball from 2003 to 2005. He returned and won the American League most-valuable-player award while playing for the Texas Rangers in 2010.

Hamilton's two seasons with the Angels have been marred by injuries and under-performance.

Pitcher C.J. Wilson, who was also a teammate of Hamilton's with the Rangers, said he was concerned for Hamilton and his wife and four children.

Wilson said he worked out with Hamilton a few days before the outfielder had shoulder surgery.

"He was kind of upbeat because he felt like he was going to get over it," Wilson said of the injury. "He was going to get over the hump."

Wilson said he did not have knowledge of Hamilton's current issue — "I have no information" — but he spoke about how he empathizes with Hamilton's struggles with addiction.

"I had some family members that went through some of this stuff growing up," Wilson said. "That's one of the reasons why I'm straightedged. I've never drank or done drugs in my life because I know exactly how scary this stuff is.

"And how the pull of addiction is a lifelong struggle for people…. It's not like a haircut, you know what I mean? It's not like 'Oh, I just got my haircut so I'm fine now.' It's not like that at all.… It's like a tattoo, you know, it's there forever."


Wilson was hopeful Hamilton would return to the team.

"Playing with a chip on your shoulder and having people doubt you is what for some people motivates you," Wilson said. "Those early negatives allow you to turn it into a happy ending. So I hope it's the same thing for Josh."

Center fielder Mike Trout, last season's AL MVP, was surprised to learn of Hamilton's situation.

"To hear the news like that, you look at it and you go, 'Wow.' It's pretty crazy," he said.

Trout said teammates were thinking about Hamilton.

"I don't know any of the details so I can't really talk about that," Trout said. "We miss him and hope everything works out."

Dipoto did not provide a time frame for when Hamilton's disciplinary issue might be resolved. But he said the Angels would not look to add another outfielder.

The Angels acquired Matt Joyce in an off-season trade and have several other players vying for a spot.

"We have Matt Joyce, who's been a very good big league player for a number of years now," Dipoto said. "He fits us. We acquired him for a reason."

"He'll play a little more outfield right now than maybe he was expecting or we were expecting."

Scioscia said a lineup devoid of Hamilton would look "a lot like we saw for the lion's share of last year."

However, the player who replaced the injured Hamilton as the Angels' cleanup hitter, second baseman Howie Kendrick, was traded to the Dodgers.

"Howie was really versatile and helped us to bridge a lot of things," Scioscia said. "But I think we've got some guys that I think are going to rebound and have, hopefully, more of an impact than they did, especially early."

Twitter: @latimesklein

Times staff writers Mike DiGiovanna and Bill Shaikin contributed to this report from Los Angeles.