The Angels outfielder has reported to have suffered a relapse in late February, according to an anonymous source. Hamilton met with MLB officials in New York to discuss his future with the team and whether or not he will be suspended. The length of his possible suspension has not yet been determined and the MLB has not officially spoken about the issue.
Hamilton had previously battled an addiction with cocaine and alcohol. His addictions, as well as several injuries created some obstacles to his career prospects. The player had previously failed six drugs tests and was suspended from 2004 to 2006. The player was reinstated in 2006 on the agreement that he would take three drug tests per week. A couple years later in 2008, Hamilton was still sober and went on to become an All Star with the Texas Rangers.
Because the latest relapse is not the first offense for Hamilton, it is very likely that he will once again be suspended. A suspension for a first drug violation usually lasts 15 to 25 games, a second violation comes with a suspension of 25 to 50 games, and a third violation carries a suspension of 50 to 75 games. A player on their fourth violation can face a suspension of at least one year.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred will consult with the players' union before making a decision about Hamilton's most recent violation. The fact that he was reinstated in 2006 may or may not affect the length of a possible suspension. Hamilton is also suffering from a shoulder injury that placed him on the disabled list and may have been kept from playing even without the drug offense.
If Hamilton ends up being suspended for 25 to 50 games, he would return to the field sometime in May. He would also lose his $138,888 per day salary during the suspension. A player can keep their full salary if they spend their first 30 days in rehab and receive half their salary during a subsequent 30 days in a rehab program.
The latest relapse is the third one during Hamilton's time in the major league. The first two incidents happened during his time with the Texas Rangers, in 2009 and 2012. Alcohol was found in the player's system in both incidences.
In recent years, Hamilton traveled with a sober companion, otherwise known as an "accountability partner", who kept the player focused on his career and other responsibilities and away from situations where there would be a temptation to drink or use drugs. Recently Hamilton began using the companion less and less, choosing instead to fly out family members or church friends to accompany him to games on the road.
In the off season, Hamilton can be found at his home in the Dallas area with his wife Katie and their four daughters. During the season, Katie and the kids live with Hamilton in Orange County, California. Hamilton and his wife had recently filmed scenes for the Netflix series Orange Is The New Black.
It is unclear whether the scenes will end up being used in the series and network spokespeople have declined requests to speak about it. It's very likely that Matt Joyce will replace Hamilton in the left field.
Hamilton has been open about his struggles with alcoholism and addiction, even releasing an autobiography in 2010 titled "Beyond Belief". In interviews about addiction, he talks about how important responsibility and accountability are when it comes to making the right choices. Hamilton sounds self assured and strong about trusting his instincts in situations where the temptation to drink or do drugs arises.