There's been a sort of restless yearning for some kind of meaningful Rangers news or transaction or story since the Yu Darvish signing was finalized, and I suppose that yearning has been satisfied tonight ... but not exactly in the manner that any of us would have preferred.
According to an "individual familiar with the episode" (per the Dallas Morning News's Gerry Fraley), Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton encountered another setback in his ongoing quest for sobriety earlier this week after drinking alcohol at a DFW-area bar on Tuesday night. The circumstances surrounding the incident have not yet been disclosed/determined, and, according to Fraley's report, the Rangers have not responded to outside requests for additional information.
Hamilton, of course, found himself swept up in a torrent of controversy in August 2009 after Deadspin published a collection of photos and first-hand accounts from a January 2009 incident in Arizona where Hamilton was spotted in the act of binging and posed for some very unfortunate photos with several girls at a Tempe-area bar. The day after the incident, Hamilton informed his family, the Rangers, and Major League Baseball of what had happened, and submitted to a league-administered drug test -- which he passed -- and later participated in a MLB-mandated counseling program. That particular incident never would have seen the light of day if not for Deadspin's disclosure, which now brings us up to this latest development of the last 72 hours.
Based on the scant details we have available to us right now, I don't feel very comfortable rushing to any kind of judgment or trying to read very far into this. I think most of us get that the consumption of even 1-2 drinks by a recovering addict like Hamilton is a worrisome setback, but it's not immediately clear whether Hamilton consumed alcohol to excess (such as he did back in Arizona) or not, or what kind of company Hamilton was surrounded by, or anything else. It's also not clear what, if any, kind of action the Rangers or Major League Baseball plan to take in response to this incident.
It's also possible that the "source" in question is horribly mistaken and nothing about this report is true, but I'd certainly like to think that the SportsDay editorial team would shelve a story with the kind of repercussions that this might have if they were less than 100 percent confident in their source's credibility. That, I suppose, is another angle on this that could be debated, though perhaps the more interesting angle on this is how it's going to affect the ongoing negotiations between the Rangers and Hamilton's representatives on a potential long-term contract extension.
I'm nervous about speculating too far on any of this right now, but more than that ... well, I'm just nervous.
Update: Fraley's post has been updated with a statement from the Rangers which conveys that they are "aware of a situation, but ... don't have further comment at this time."