Josh HamiltonFormer MVP Josh Hamilton is having a difficult first year with the Los Angeles Angels, with whom he signed a 5-year contract in the offseason. The power-hitting outfielder isn’t hitting for power and is striking out at a much higher pace than ever before. The team, featuring perennial All-Star Albert Pujols and rising talent Mike Trout, and expected to challenge for the American League West crown, has tried moving Hamilton to other spots in the batting order, and has now given him a day off to “clear the cobwebs” and regroup, but nothing has helped his struggles. His manager, Mike Scioscia, is confident that Hamilton will sort things out, saying “I think he just needs to exhale a little bit. Maybe just take that step backwards to get to his goal of swinging the bat the way he can quicker.”

For his part, Hamilton thinks he has the answer, even if no one else wants to come out and say it: cocaine or, at the very least, marijuana or alcohol. “Look, I know Mike [Scioscia] is a great manager–a real players’ manager–with a lot of experience, but I think I know my body pretty well, and what my body needs is drugs. I’ve tried to fight it for years, to the point where I thought abstinence was the way to go… and even when I had relapses I was convinced that with the love and support of those around me I could kick the habit.”

Hamilton, who was banned from baseball during his minor league days and saw his Major League career delayed, has become a poster child for the evils of drugs, and a strong proponent of just saying “no.”  He has credited his family, friends, and his faith for turning his life around. But now he’s calling all of that into question. “I used to think that God had a plan for me, and that was to stay clean, be a role model, and live to praise Him. But I’ve started to see things a little differently. Don’t get me wrong–I still live to praise God–it’s just that part about ‘clean’ that I’m not sure about… I’ve been seeing signs telling me to loosen up a bit. Like when people tell me I need to ‘take a step backwards’… that’s a hint, right? And when they say I need to ‘exhale’ they really mean ‘inhale’ I think, like with marijuana.”

He also says that the reason for his struggles may be that he’s seeing a lot of off-speed pitches–the second most in the Majors–but wants to “give the cocaine a try first.”

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