Three strikes and he isn’t out. After suffering his third public relapse since early 2009, and one most recently in February of this year, an independent arbitrator ruled in favor of Josh Hamilton to avoid suspension by the MLB for a violation of their drug policy.
By Peter Elliott – Lead MLB, NFL, and NCAA Writer – @PelliottSports
This is the same man who had six failed drug tests while with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2004-2006, and had two alcohol related incidents while with the Texas Rangers.
Yet none of that mattered.
The arbitrator reasoned that Hamilton’s relapse did not violate his treatment program and that the Commissioner couldn’t suspend him.
This ruling permits Hamilton to rejoin the Angels as soon as he is healthy, and probably more important for him and his agent, prevents the MLB from taking any of the remaining $90 million on his contract.
Angels president John Carpino commented on the ruling saying:
It defies logic, that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his drug program.
When he returns to the field, which may not be for a while, he’s likely to hear boos – the same boos he heard when he went hitless in the playoffs.
Hamilton will have live up to expectations after an awful 2014 campaign,
when he missed 84 games due to injury. In the 89 games he did play, he struck out 108 times and only hit 10 home runs. Not too impressive for a right fielder known for his power.
Two things are certain though, the Angels don’t need Hamilton, and Hamilton needs help.
Peter Elliott writes about the MLB and NFL for Talking Baws.