Los Angeles Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton will not be suspended for his substance abuse missteps in the offseason, according to a statement from Major League Baseball:

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported the Angels’ statement on MLB‘s decision:

MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez had more from Angels president John Carpino:

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman noted that credit for Hamilton escaping discipline belongs to the MLB Players Association:

Reports of a potential punishment first began surfacing after Hamilton met with MLB officials on Feb. 25. A source told Rosenthal the meeting concerned a disciplinary issue “worse” than performance-enhancing drugs. Heyman later confirmed with a source that Hamilton admitted to officials he suffered a relapse with cocaine.

The top overall pick in the 1999 MLB draft by Tampa Bay, Hamilton never made the majors with the Rays due to a number of off-field problems—most notably drug addiction. After bouncing in and out of the Tampa Bay system for years, he eventually rejuvenated his career after Cincinnati, via the Chicago Cubs, acquired him in the 2006 Rule 5 draft.

After a year with the Reds, Hamilton spent five seasons in Texas, emerging as one of baseball’s best hitters. He won the 2010 AL MVP, made the All-Star team five times and belted 100 home runs over his final three campaigns with the Rangers. In 2012, Hamilton addressed a relapse with alcohol related to a family matter.

The Angels signed Hamilton to a $125 million contract before the 2013 season. The move has largely been a disappointment, with Hamilton hitting only 31 home runs his first two seasons in Los Angeles. Injury limited him to 89 games last season.

Hamilton underwent offseason shoulder surgery, and his status is unclear for the beginning of the 2015 regular season. However, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reported that, “Hamilton is ‘working hard’ to get back on field, sources say. But there’s no specific timetable for his return.”

It’s hard to tell exactly when Hamilton will be ready to take the field for the Angels, but the team now knows that he’ll be able to play once his shoulder heals. That provides a boost for a team already considered amongst MLB’s biggest contenders.


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