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Scioscia denies confusion, but Hamilton's return date unclear

Mike Scioscia says there is no confusion with Jerry Dipoto over the return date for Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton will report to the Angels’ Arizona training complex to begin the process of rejoining the team. It will happen soon, Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday. Exactly when is unclear.

On Tuesday, Scioscia said Hamilton would report to Arizona this week, but General Manager Jerry Dipoto refuted that schedule to The Times. Before the Angels' game against the Athletics on Wednesday, Scioscia denied there was any confusion between him and the front office over Hamilton’s timetable.

Scioscia clarified that he was being aggressive with his timetable.

“No mixed messages,” Scioscia said. “I think the process is starting with Josh this week. I think that the timetable for him to get to Arizona is really fluid, but could happen this weekend, could happen next week, but the process is there.”

Scioscia said Dipoto has communicated the plan with Hamilton through his agent.

“There’s definitely a support plan that’s developed and in place,” Scioscia said.

Hamilton, who has a history of addiction to cocaine and alcohol, reported a relapse to Major League Baseball in February. On April 3, an arbitrator ruled that Hamilton did not violate the league’s drug treatment program and could not be suspended.

Angels owner Arte Moreno has taken an aggressive position with Hamilton. He has argued that Hamilton’s contract includes a clause forbidding him from using alcohol or drugs, a clause that could allow the team to collect some of the $83 million remaining on Hamilton’s contract.

The players’ union has vehemently denied this.

Meanwhile, Hamilton has been without a locker in the Angels’ facilities.

On Wednesday, Scioscia appeared to issue a softened stance when addressing the removed lockers. During spring training, he said, several players had to share lockers, so getting rid of Hamilton’s made sense. When the team returned home for the preseason series with the Dodgers, the clubhouse was similarly crowded, he said.

“We had seven guys doubled up in the spring,” Scioscia said. “Space was at a premium.”

He added: “When Josh gets out here in our clubhouse he’ll have a locker.” 

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