Manager Mike Scioscia said he hopes to have a “face-to-face” meeting with outfielder Josh Hamilton, whose substance-abuse relapse has triggered an ugly dispute between the organization and the player, while the team is in Houston this week.
“We’ll be there,” Scioscia said. “Hopefully we can connect with him and see where he is.”
A team official said Hamilton, who has been rehabilitating from right-shoulder surgery in Houston since early February, has not made any overtures toward the club about visiting Minute Maid Park. The Angels have an off day in Houston on Thursday and play the Astros on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Scioscia said he wasn’t sure whether any coaches or players would join him to visit Hamilton if the meeting takes place away from the stadium.
“Everyone’s been in touch with Josh,” Scioscia said. “The concern is that Josh is getting the help and support he needs right now. That’s first and foremost.”
An arbitrator determined that Hamilton did not violate baseball’s drug policy and cannot be suspended. But Angels owner Arte Moreno has taken a hard-line stance toward Hamilton, claiming the team included language in his contract that forbade him from drinking or using drugs.
Moreno said he might challenge Hamilton’s ability to collect his full salary -- $83 million over the next three years. The players’ union responded by saying such language had not been approved and that it would “not supersede the provisions of the joint drug agreement and/or the basic agreement.”
Hamilton was not with the team in spring training, he was not issued a locker in the Angel Stadium clubhouse, and merchandise bearing his name and number has been pulled from stadium team stores.
“At some levels, it’s frustrating — that’s the overall feeling in the clubhouse,” Scioscia said. “It just seems like as we try to get more clarity, it seems like it’s getting foggier and foggier.”