- Associated Press - Thursday, February 2, 2012

DALLAS (AP) - The Dallas Morning News is reporting Rangers outfielder and recovering drug addict Josh Hamilton had a relapse earlier this week when he drank alcohol at a bar.

The newspaper, citing unidentified “individuals familiar with the episode,” reported Thursday night that Hamilton was drinking at a Dallas area bar Monday.

In a statement to the newspaper, the Rangers said they were “aware of a situation, but we don’t have further comment at this time.”

Hamilton, 30, was suspended for more than three years for drug and alcohol use while in the Tampa Bay organization. He missed the entire 2004-05 seasons. He won the AL MVP in 2010.

This was Hamilton’s second alcohol-related relapse in three years. In January, 2009, he drank to excess in a bar in Tempe, Ariz. Before that, Hamilton said he hadn’t taken a drink of alcohol since Oct. 6, 2005.

When the Rangers acquired the 28-year-old outfielder from the Cincinnati Reds on Dec. 21, 2007, they were aware of Hamilton’s off-the-field problems and came out with a “zero tolerance” policy regarding his drinking.

He is tested for drug use three times a week and has had an accountability partner to support him in his recovery _ though that job is now vacant.

The Rangers announced last month that Hamilton’s father-in-law had been hired as a staff special assistant to be the accountability partner for the slugger. But Michael Dean Chadwick has since decided against accepting that position due to “family considerations.”

Hitting coach Johnny Narron filled that role before he left in November for Milwaukee. Narron joined the Rangers when Hamilton was acquired four years ago in a trade from Cincinnati. His primary role was to support the former No. 1 overall draft pick, who rebounded from his substance-abuse problems to become one of the top players in baseball.

Hamilton can become a free agent after this season, and has said he will not negotiate an extension after he reports to spring training.

He said he plans to leave for spring training on Feb. 17, a full week before the full-squad reporting date in Arizona.