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02/03/12 4:33 PM EST
Rangers' concern lies with Hamilton's life, family
Club to hire 'accountability' partner; contract on 'backburner'
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
ARLINGTON -- Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the club is in the process of hiring an "accountability" partner for outfielder Josh Hamilton.
Daniels said the Rangers were "working through" that even before Hamilton had a second relapse on Monday night in his ongoing recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
"We're close to that," Daniels said. "I expect we'll have an announcement on that sometime next week."
Hamilton, who missed 3 1/2 years in 2003-06 because of his drug and alcohol addiction, admitted on Friday that he was drinking alcohol in two Dallas establishments on Monday night. The Rangers were informed of the incident on Tuesday morning by his agent Mike Moye.
"There are a number of emotions that you go through in something like this," Daniels said. "We've talked about how we view ourselves as a family. Well, when somebody in the family makes a mistake and screws up, there are a lot of emotions. One is we're disappointed, but the overriding concern is for Josh and his family."
Daniels said that is a bigger concern than how it impacts a possible long-term contract extension for Hamilton, who can be a free agent after the upcoming season. But he also admitted that it's something that has to be factored into the negotiations.
"I think it's something that we have to address and take into consideration," Daniels said. "But this is not a baseball story. This is real. This is something Josh has to deal with, how it affects him and the people around him. He and his family, that is where our heads are right now."
Hamilton held a news conference at the Ballpark in Arlington on Friday. Daniels is out of town and was not present at the news conference but spoke by phone with the media on Friday afternoon. Club president Nolan Ryan was also out of the office and not available on Friday.
"Josh has an addiction, he has a disease," Daniels said. "It's something that needs to be dealt with, and he needs help from the people around him. Not just me, but everybody in the organization, when we heard about this, the thought was not about how it impacts the club but our thoughts were about his wife Katie, his daughters and how he was going to get through this. That's where we are. We want to make sure we support him on this."
The Rangers had been talking to Moye about the contract extension, and Hamilton had set the beginning of Spring Training as a deadline to come to an agreement. Hamilton said on Friday those talks are on the "backburner," and Daniels agreed with that assessment.
"I don't know when that will be brought up," Daniels said. "We have more important things to deal with."
Johnny Narron, who has known Hamilton for many years back in North Carolina, spent the past four seasons in the role of accountability partner but has since been hired as the Brewers' hitting coach. The Rangers then hired Hamilton's father-in-law Michael Dean Chadwick earlier this winter, but he had to withdraw because of family considerations.
The "accountability" partner is somebody who travels with the Rangers and watches over Hamilton as a mentor and counselor. But Hamilton also had a relapse in January 2009. He was working out at a private training facility in the Phoenix area and slipped away from Narron one night. He ended up in a bar and became severely intoxicated.
Daniels admitted the Rangers were concerned that both relapses have occurred at the same point of the offseason when there is less structure in Hamilton's life.
"It's something we need to talk about," Daniels said.