“We seem to have off-the-field issues every two months,” Kinsler said Friday. “I’m worried about supporting Josh in this whole thing. Right now, it’s pretty much behind both of us, pretty much behind our team. We’ve dealt with things like this in the past and it’s really been no problem. As far as people’s opinions, that’s something we can’t control. We’ll support Josh as best we can.”
Manager Ron Washington hasn’t noticed anything different from the “happy-go-lucky” Hamilton, who has mingled with fans near the practice fields outside Surprise Stadium signing autographs.
“When you have setbacks, that’s human nature,” Washington said. “With his addiction, relapse is part of recovery. We supported him since the day he got here and we’ll support him until the day he’s no longer a Texas Ranger, if ever.”
The four-time All-Star said he would address his teammates in a meeting at some point and ask them for continued support.
Hamilton reminded everyone that he surrendered his life to God in 2005 and it was “what I needed.”
“If I didn’t have any weaknesses, I wouldn’t need God,” he said. “I need to stay in that place of surrender. Every time I get a little distracted or have some other ideas in mind as far as things taking that place where He needs to be, you know what, my weakness shows and it comes out in full effect. … This is probably the third time now I’ve shared my heart with you guys. All the distractions, I just feel like since I’ve been here every spring training it’s been something other (happening). It’s baseball season. It’s spring training. We’re ALCS champs two years in a row. Let’s focus on that. Let’s focus on our team.”
Hamilton continues to receive regular drug tests from Major League Baseball _ something he appreciates because it keeps him accountable.
“This isn’t about baseball,” Hamilton said. “It’s is about how many more years do I have left to play, and what’s going to go on and what’s going to happen after I finish playing the game. This is a life thing, folks. This is not a baseball thing.”
Notes: SS Elvis Andrus had a plantar wart removed from his right heel. He might be limited early in camp but it should heal just fine. … Nelson Cruz said he worked hard to build leg strength this winter by changing his exercise regimen with an increased emphasis on “jumping and lifting.” Cruz, who worked out with catcher Mike Napoli, hopes to avoid the hamstring and quadriceps injuries that sidelined him for 29 games last year. “I think he could put up an MVP year if he could stay on the field for 155 games,” Washington said.