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Josh Hamilton In Trouble...Again

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Hamilton Arrested


The timetable for Josh Hamilton?s return to baseball?he last played in the Cal League back in 2002--also remains a mystery. In fact, the weekend brought another sign that Hamilton?s return to the diamond remains anything but inevitable.


Hamilton's hopes to be reinstated from a lengthy drug suspension this summer and rejoin the Devil Rays organization seem less likely after a weekend misdemeanor arrest in North Carolina and admission that he had been drinking alcohol at a party.


Hamilton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, has battled injuries as well as substance abuse during his time away from the field. His father-in-law, Michael Dean Chadwick, said the latest incident has been blown out of proportion and shouldn't be considered a sign Hamilton is headed for more trouble, however.


"I definitely don't think it should be, though I know how the world turns," Chadwick said. "I think anybody who will ask me what I think and take it to heart since I'm with him about every day will realize this was a pothole and not a major setback. It's just a damn shame is what it is."


Police in Cary, N.C., arrested Hamilton on a misdemeanor charge of damage to property after they say he shattered the windshield of a family friend's pickup truck and broke the rearview mirror. The arrest capped a series of odd events following a party being held in part to celebrate Hamilton's 24th birthday Saturday night.


Hamilton, who in March told the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times he had not used drugs or alcohol since September and was determined to get reinstated to play baseball, told police he had been drinking at the party and left after getting into an argument with his wife Katie.


On their way home, Hamilton punched the windshield of their car, then got out, walked along U.S. Highway 1 and ended up at a gas station, from where police got their first call. "Originally we got a call that he was harassing customers and was covered in blood," said Lt. Michael Williams of the Cary Police Department.


Hamilton left the gas station in a friend's Jeep, but police stopped them shortly afterward. Chadwick and a friend, Dana Eiseman, showed up at the scene and planned to take Hamilton to Chadwick's home. They rode in Eiseman's pickup and, according to Williams, "at some point Mr. Hamilton punched the windshield and ripped the mirror off."


Police had left and did not know about the vandalism when it occurred, Williams said, but they became involved again when Chadwick called police to his residence when Hamilton and his wife continued to argue. Hamilton was taken to the Wake County Jail and released on a promise to appear in court.


Chadwick said he and Hamilton were playing golf together the day after the incident and had discussed it. "It can't be that bad if I'm playing golf with him, can it?" said Chadwick, who runs a ministry and counsels on drug abuse.


Injuries and drug problems have disrupted Hamilton?s once-promising career. Once ranked the top prospect in the game by Baseball America, he hasn't played in a game since July 2002.


He was suspended 30 days in February 2004 for failing at least two drug tests, then on March 19, 2004, was given a one-year suspension for failing additional tests. The Times reported in January that the suspension had been extended through the 2005 season due to additional violations, but that Hamilton had shown enough progress that MLB officials told him if he continued to stay sober, there was a chance he would be reinstated sometime this summer.


Devil Rays general counsel/vice president John Higgins said the team was looking into the situation and had no comment.



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