The outfielder, suspended for drug policy violations, will participate in the Devil Rays' spring training program for the next 10 days.
By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published June 1, 2006
BALTIMORE - Talented but troubled Devil Rays prospect Josh Hamilton is headed back to the baseball field.
Hamilton, who had been suspended indefinitely following multiple violations of baseball's drug policy, has been granted limited priviledges by Major League Baseball and allowed to participate in the team's extended spring training program for the next 10 or so days.
At the end of that time, officials are expected to decide if Hamilton will be allowed to continue playing, and if so would likely join one of the Rays low-level minor-leagues teams.
Hamilton, an outfielder with a strong arm and a powerful bat was the first pick in the 1999 draft, but injuries slowed his progress and drug problems halted it. He has not played in a minor-league game since 2002.
Hamilton, 25, is expected to work out for the first time on Friday at the team minor-league complex.
The temporary reinstatement was the culmination of several months of conversations between team executives, MLB and players union officials and medical personnel and would seem to indicate that Hamilton has stayed clean long enough to satisfy all parties.