Los Angeles Angels leftfielder Josh Hamilton is likely to face a ban of at least 25 games for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, reports Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi.
According to the report, MLB officials are weighing how to penalize the five-time All-Star while trying to be lenient with their punishment.
Hamilton reportedly violated the terms of a treatment program when he relapsed on cocaine and alcohol. The Angels confirmed that he met with MLB officials in New York on Wednesday in relation to a disciplinary issue.
The drug policy calls for a suspension of at least 15 games but not more than 25 for a player’s first failure to adhere to the treatment program.
Hamilton did serve a two-year ban in the minor leagues when he was a member of the Tampa Bay Rays organization. As part of his reinstatement in 2006, he agreed to be tested three times each week, but he had relapses in 2009 and 2012.
Hamilton led the Texas Rangers to two consecutive World Series trips and won the American League MVP award in 2010.
Hamilton is not expected to be ready for the regular season as he is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The Angels owe him more than $90 million during the next three seasons as part of the five-year, $125 million deal he signed before the 2013 season. He is scheduled to be paid $25 million in 2015 and $32.4 million in both 2016 and '17.
One of baseball's most feared sluggers, Hamilton has struggled with injuries during his time with the Angels, playing in only 89 games last season while hitting .263 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI.
- Scooby Axson