Friday March 6th, 2015

The MLB Players Association released a statement on Thursday about Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton, condemning anonymous leaks of his confidential info.

Hamilton met with MLB officials in New York last week after reports indicated he admitted to a relapse involving the use of cocaine and alcohol.

The MLBPA's statement:

"It is regrettable that people who want to see Josh Hamilton hurt personally and professionally have started leaking information about the status of his treatment program and the confidential processes under our Joint Drug Agreement. These anonymous leaks are cowardly, undermine the integrity of our collectively bargained agreements and in some instances have been wholly inaccurate. The MLBPA will use every right we have under the collective bargaining agreement to make sure Josh gets the help he needs, and the fair and confidential process to which he is entitled."

The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that an arbitrator will decide whether Hamilton should enter rehab.

CORCORAN: How should MLB treat Josh Hamilton?

A four-person panel consisting of two attorneys and two physicians—MLB's commissioner's office and the players association appointed one of each—is reportedly deadlocked over how to punish Hamilton for a relapse of substance abuse.

The panel first must determine if Hamilton violated the league's drug policy, and if so, how to discipline him.

While he was a Tampa Bay Rays minor leaguer last decade, Hamilton failed at least six drug tests, according to the Times, and was suspended from baseball from 2004-06.

MLB officials are reportedly considering whether to classify Hamilton as a fourth-time offender of its drug policy. Penalties vary depending on how many violations a player has committed: 15 to 25 games for a first offense, 25 to 50 games for a second, 50 to 75 for a third and at least one full season for a fourth.

First-year commissioner Rob Manfred will make the final verdict on the length of a suspension.

Hamilton was named the American League MVP in 2010 after hitting .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI. He signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in 2013.

- Molly Geary and Mike Fiammetta 

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