How Josh Hamilton could serve suspension and not miss a game

If suspended, Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton could serve his ban while on the disabled list

With Josh Hamilton, a recovering drug and alcohol addict, suffering some type of a relapse and facing a possible suspension, how many games might he miss?

The answer might be none, because of this wrinkle in baseball's drug policy: Time on the disabled list counts toward serving a suspension.

Hamilton, who had shoulder surgery Feb. 4, will open the season on the disabled list. Angels General Manager Jerry Dipoto said last week that Hamilton's rehabilitation could extend into May.

If Hamilton were to be suspended 25 games, he would be eligible to return May 4. If he were suspended 50 games, he would be eligible to return May 31.

In accordance with baseball's drug policy, Hamilton would be permitted to go on a minor league rehabilitation assignment during the final days of his suspension.

Hamilton met with Major League Baseball officials on Wednesday to discuss discipline.

No decision is believed to be imminent, but suspensions for players that violate terms of a drug-treatment program range from 15 to 25 games for an initial violation, 25 to 50 games for a second violation, 50 to 75 games for a third violation, at least one year for a fourth violation and commissioner's discretion for any subsequent violations.

The terms of Hamilton's 2006 reinstatement agreement have not been made public, so it is uncertain whether that punishment schedule would apply. Commissioner Rob Manfred is expected to determine Hamilton's punishment after consultation with the players' union.

Follow Bill Shaikin on Twitter @BillShaikin

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