Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated Wednesday that Major League Baseball will not investigate the Angels for alleged leaks regarding Josh Hamilton's drug relapse, saying, "I have no reason to believe that the Angels did anything inappropriate."
The Angels' response to news that Hamilton won't be suspended has been scrutinized, and it has been suggested the club leaked information about the outfielder's situation, which would constitute a violation of the confidentiality provisions in the Joint Drug Agreement.
An arbitrator ruled Friday that Hamilton did not violate the terms of his treatment program, leaving Manfred without the ability to levy any punishment over a self-reported drug relapse. A statement issued by general manager Jerry Dipoto said the Angels were "disappointed" in Hamilton. Angels president John Carpino later said, "It defies logic that Josh's reported behavior is not a violation of his current program."
Asked if he believes those comments will make it difficult for Hamilton to ultimately play for the Angels, Manfred said, "I'm sure that the club and the player will find a way to work together going forward. I don't think it's as serious a problem on a go-forward basis as it might appear to some."
But Hamilton -- recovering from shoulder surgery in Houston since early February -- hasn't been around the team all season, and there have been no further updates on his rehab.
There's a chance Hamilton never plays for the Angels again, according to people familiar with the situation. But the 33-year-old is owed $83 million over the next three years, with a full no-trade clause and two subpar seasons under his belt, so working out a trade or negotiating a buyout would be a very difficult task.
The Angels are in Houston next week, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't know if Hamilton will be around the team.
"I think right now the most important thing for Josh is to make sure he's getting the help he needs, getting the support," Scioscia said. "That's where our concerns are. We'll touch base with him."
Manfred echoed those sentiments from Washington, D.C., on Monday, saying, "We're in a mode of moving forward, making sure the player has the help that he needs." Speaking from Safeco Field two days later, Manfred didn't feel it was appropriate to get into specifics about what the next course of action for Hamilton should be.
"All I'm going to say about that is he's in our program," Manfred said. "We have the very best doctors involved and I hope it turns out to be a positive result."