Scioscia hopes Hamilton has support group

Manager expects to communicate with rehabbing outfielder during Houston trip

Scioscia hopes Hamilton has support group

ARLINGTON -- Angels manager Mike Scioscia doesn't believe being with the team would've changed anything about Josh Hamilton's rehabilitation from shoulder surgery.

"He wouldn't be doing any more if he was with us," Scioscia said of Hamilton, who has been rehabbing his injury in Houston ever since undergoing surgery to his right AC joint on Feb. 4.

The timeline for Hamilton's recovery remains unclear.

"That's part of the stuff that's still open-ended," Scioscia said. "I think it's been open-ended for some time. A lot depends on where he is, what baseball activities he's able to perform right now. The surgery he had, there's a time he needs to heal and there's a range. We're still within that range. It's not like he's outside that range. But there's a lot to take into account of just where he is."

Scioscia on Hamilton situation

Scioscia is confident he'll "communicate" with Hamilton when the team travels to Houston for this weekend's series against the Astros, but the Angels manager isn't sure if that will occur over the phone or in person.

Hamilton has been staying with a friend who acts as a part-time accountability partner. The 33-year-old outfielder is not expected to visit the team over the weekend, but some players may venture on their own to go see him.

"I'm going to feel better if I think there's a support group there," Scioscia said. "If he's getting the help that he needs, I'll feel better about that."

Angels owner Arte Moreno indicated Friday that he'll pursue legal action against Hamilton, who self-reported a drug relapse to Major League Baseball but was not suspended. There's a strong sense Hamilton won't play again for the Angels, with perhaps the only question being how much money the team can recoup on a contract that is scheduled to pay him $83 million through the 2017 season.

FOXSports.com reported Tuesday that Hamilton's contract contains three provisions that would allow the Angels to terminate or convert the deal to "non-guaranteed" if he was not in "first-class condition" or mentally/physically incapacitated due to drug or alcohol abuse. But it remains to be seen if they can enforce it, even though an arbitrator ruled that Hamilton did not violate the terms of his treatment program.

The situation has left Angels players confused and in an awkward position.

"That teammate bond, that player-to-player bond, is strong, and it's strong in our clubhouse," Scioscia said. "It doesn't surprise me that some guys would wonder about that, but it's no distraction."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.