Angels still awaiting word on Josh Hamilton …

The Angels don’t anticipate getting word on a potential Josh Hamilton suspension on Friday, which could mean that the earliest something comes down — potentially — is Monday. Still, a lot of things are up in the air at this point.

“Right now there’s no more information than we had yesterday,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I don’t know where the process is. … We’ve got a lot of things on our plate that we have to take care of. That’s going to happen on its own time. We can’t let it affect us.”

Hamilton met with Major League Baseball officials at the Commissioner’s Office in New York on Wednesday, the Angels confirmed, and CBSSports.com reported that the meeting was regarding a drug-related relapse Hamilton had during the offseason.

Contrary to what has previously been written, Hamilton likely would not be treated as a first-time offender if he violated the Joint Drug Agreement because he was on the Rays’ 40-man roster when he failed his first drug test in 2003. From February 2004 to November 2005, Hamilton was suspended four separate times by MLB.

First-time offenders get placed in a drug treatment program. A first failure to comply with the program is a suspension from 15-25 games, a second is 25-50 games, a third is 50-75 games and a fourth is at least a full season. As stated in Section 7D of the JDA, “Any subsequent failure to comply by a player shall result in the commissioner imposing further discipline.”

Hamilton’s situation is tricky, though, because he hasn’t had a drug-related relapse for about a decade and, aside from alcohol-related relapses in 2009 and ’12, has complied with MLB since being reinstated in June 2006. FOXSports.com reported Friday that Hamilton’s suspension would likely be at least 25 games but less than a full season. But a lot of variables are at play, with new commissioner Rob Manfred having a say and the MLB Players Association perhaps getting involved.

MLB refused comment on Hamilton’s situation again Friday, and the Angels have yet to provide the reason for Hamilton’s meeting in New York.

  • With John McDonald no longer here, and none of the candidates for the utility-infield job having much experience at third base, there’s a good chance David Freese won’t be subbed out late in games this year. “If David Freese doesn’t have to be subbed out, it helps us a lot in some situations where maybe a game is tied and you’ve taken him out of the game,” Scioscia said. “To say we are or aren’t doing it now, it’s too early.”
  • Among the guys who have stuck out early in camp are Sean Newcomb, Andrew Heaney, Nick Tropeano and Matt Lindstrom (more on his situation here). “When you see a guy like Newcomb up close, you get a real sense of the talent,” Scioscia said. “The ball just explodes out of his hands.”
  • Garrett Richards looked “really good” in his 50-pitch bullpen on Thursday, Scioscia said. Mike Butcher mentioned Thursday that his next bullpen would likely be Sunday, but there’s no certainty yet. Scioscia said “at most he’ll have two days off,” which is a good sign.

Alden

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