Josh Hamilton's history with drugs is well-documented, and he may be in the middle of writing another chapter.
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The troubled outfielder is currently not in Angels camp, with Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto instead saying Hamilton is in New York meeting with the league. CBS Sports' Jon Heyman said the meeting is involving a relapse that reportedly took place a few months ago and involved "at least cocaine."
However much they know or don't know, the Angels say they're in the dark about the situation.
When asked about Hamilton, Angels manager Mike Scioscia said that to “deal in lot of hypotheticals and … a lot of rumors ... out there is not going to serve our purpose.”
“We’ll see where Major League Baseball is," he said, "and get a little more clarity to Josh’s situation.”
Even before the current incident, Hamilton's near future was murky. The 33-year-old had surgery to repair the AC join in his right shoulder in early February, a procedure that threatens to keep him out 12 weeks. Even if Hamilton isn't suspended, it could be May before he returns to the lineup.
And there are differing reports on whether he will face a suspension. Hamilton's reported relapse happened in the offseason and his confession to MLB wasn't the result of a positive test, so Hamilton would be considered a first-time offender under the league's drug policy, per Heyman. Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, though, said Hamilton being treated as a first-time offender -- he's got a history of drug use with MLB, but his previous offenses happened while he was a minor leaguer in the Rays organization -- are "unlikely."
We should know soon enough. Whether for injury or suspension, Hamilton's fantasy stock is currently negligible.
Waino Gets Good News
The Cardinals have a history of devastating injuries to pitchers in spring, but it appears they dodged an early bullet Thursday.
Adam Wainwright traveled to St. Louis Thursday to have his midsection examined after he cut a workout short due to abdominal pain. Wainwright said he felt the injury when he was placing a weight back on a weight rack while working out.
Doctors diagnosed Wainwright with an abdominal strain, an outlook that equates to a best-case scenario for the pitcher and the club, general manager John Mozeliak said.
"Based on all the different studies and what the doctor saw he feels this was the best news we could have gotten," Mozeliak said.
Wainwright will be kept from running and lifting weights for 4-5 days but will be able to throw. Most importantly, he remains on track to start on Opening Day.
Wainwright has already said last season was the most pain he's experienced while pitching, and he had offseason elbow surgery to correct the problem. Assuming he can avoid more bad luck on the injury front, it should be another strong season from the 33-year-old.
K-Rod Finds A Familiar Home
The Brewers once again found a pitcher late in the offseason, but this time the new guy is a familiar face.
After signing Kyle Lohse on March 25, 2013, and signing Matt Garza on January 26 of last year, the club struck a deal with free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez. The sides agreed to a two-year, $13 million deal with a club option for 2017.
K-Rod is anything but new to the organization, though. The 33-year-old saved 44 games for the club last season, his second go-round in Milwaukee. He finished with a 3.04 ERA and made his fifth All-Star team in the process.
Now back with the Brewers, Rodriguez once again steps into the closer's role unchallenged. The move allows Jonathan Broxton to slide into a setup role, freeing up effective relievers like Will Smith and Jeremy Jeffress to be used situationally. The deal also removes the Brewers from the running for Jonathan Papelbon, a sweepstakes that has markedly few interested parties at this point.
K-Rod's 2014 season shows he can still be an effective closer, and a Brewers club that should once again be in the upper half of a tough NL Central should afford him plenty of save opportunities. Smart drafters may be able to take advantage of an egregiously low ADP -- K-Rod isn't even among the top 300 players being drafted currently -- in the coming weeks.
Quick Hits: The Blue Jays signed Johan Santana to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. Santana's road back to the majors has been long and filled with detours, and his odds of breaking camp with the Jays remain slim ... Garrett Richards (knee) threw a 50-pitch bullpen session Thursday as he recovers from a torn left patellar tendon. Richards still has his sights set on being ready by Opening Day, but fantasy owners would gladly accept an April return as consolation ... Lucas Duda won't swing a bat for another week while he deals with an oblique injury. Obliques are notoriously nasty and while he's had a cortisone shot to help the situation, the injury could linger further into camp than expected ... 2014 No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken will pitch for IMG Academy's post-graduate team this spring ahead of the 2015 MLB Draft. He's in the running to be the top selection again this June, and a strong showing with the club could solidify his spot ... With the Brewers now out of the running, it came out Thursday that Papelbon would be willing to waive his no-trade clause in a deal to the Blue Jays. For their part, the Jays aren't said to be terribly interested at this juncture ... Giancarlo Stanton stood in against live pitching Thursday for the first time since being hit in the face by a pitch last season. Stanton will wear a specially designed helmet with a face guard this year to protect against a similar injury, but he should be just fine physically after the scary incident ... Speaking of strained obliques, the injury has hampered Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons early in camp as well. Simmons won't throw for the next couple weeks as he allows his body time to heal. It's a harrowing reminder that the young shortstop is at least part human.