Hamilton: 'I hate that this happened'

Updated: August 8, 2009, 10:37 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton acknowledged a January bar incident Saturday in which he became drunk and was photographed with several women, not including his wife, in lurid poses in Tempe, Ariz.

"I'm embarrassed about it. For the Rangers, I'm embarrassed about it. For my wife, my kids," Hamilton said in Anaheim, Calif., before the Rangers played the Los Angeles Angels. "It's one of those things that just reinforces about alcohol.

"Unfortunately, it happened. It just reinforces to me that if I'm out there getting ready for a season and taking my focus off the most important thing in my recovery, which is my relationship with Christ, it's amazing how those things creep back in."

The photos were first posted by Deadspin.com on Saturday morning.

"Honestly, I hate that this happened," he said. "But it is what it is. You deal with it. I realized that, obviously, I'm not perfect, in this ongoing struggle, battle, that is very real. A lot of people don't understand how real it is."

Hamilton, 28, won't face discipline from the Rangers.

Hamilton I don't feel like I'm a hypocrite. I feel like I'm human. I got away from the one thing that keeps me straightened out and going in the right direction.

-- Josh Hamilton

Hamilton, who had been in Arizona preparing for spring training, told the team of the incident the next day.

"As soon as it happened, I called my support system -- my wife, the Rangers, MLB and told them what had happened," he said Saturday. "I was absolutely open and honest about it."

General manager Jon Daniels spoke with Hamilton in the clubhouse Saturday before they addressed the media, and said later the tone of their conversation had a different kind of emotion than the one in January because of the time Hamilton's had to think about it.

"I'd hesitate to say it's something we're going to put behind us, but we're not going to allow this to become a distraction the rest of the season and we'll try to move on as best we can," Daniels said.

Hamilton, who hadn't had a drink since Oct. 6, 2005, was chosen as the No. 1 draft pick by the Tampa Bay Rays as an 18-year-old in 1999.

Out of baseball for three years while serving suspensions and getting clean, Hamilton reached the majors in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds. He was traded to Texas in December 2007 for pitcher Edinson Volquez.

Josh Hamilton
via Deadspin.comRangers outfielder Josh Hamilton was in Arizona to prepare for spring training in January when he was photographed at a bar in the Phoenix area.

In a July 2007 interview with ESPN The Magazine, Hamilton described his fight to overcome alcohol and drug abuse, which helped pave his way back to the major leagues.

"How am I here?" Hamilton asked then. "I can only shrug and say, 'It's a God thing.' It's the only possible explanation."

Hamilton said the encouragement and support of his wife helped during his recovery process.

"I'd go five or six months without picking up a ball or swinging a bat," he said in the interview. "By then, I'd been in rehab five or six times -- on my way to eight -- and failed to get clean. I was a bad husband and a bad father, and I had no relationship with God. Baseball wasn't even on my mind."

Hamilton's performance at the 2008 Home Run Derby was one of the compelling storylines of last season, when he crushed the first-round record with 28 home runs, at one point going deep on 13 swings in a row.

"I don't feel like I'm a hypocrite. I feel like I'm human," he said Saturday. "I got away from the one thing that keeps me straightened out and going in the right direction."

When asked whether he will make a formal apology to his teammates in private, Hamilton said: "More than likely. I don't necessarily know when it would be, but I won't let it linger too long. What I do off the field affects my teammates and the name of this organization. They know who I am and what I want to accomplish."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.