Continued from page 1

Hamilton said Kinsler didn’t know he had been drinking, and that he never had a drink in front of his teammate, even when they left before the restaurant closed and went to another place nearby for 25-30 minutes. Then Kinsler drove him back to where he was staying not far away.

Though Hamilton told Kinsler he was not going anywhere else, Hamilton said he later returned to the place they had left and had more drinks.

Daniels, who was out of town and spoke on a later conference call, was asked if he was concerned that the incident was more than just Hamilton having a few drinks. The GM referred to Hamilton saying that alcohol had led the outfielder to some things he wasn’t proud of.

“I don’t know. I wasn’t there,” Daniels said. “That’s how Josh wants to address those things right now.”

In Twitter posts Friday, Hamilton’s wife, Katie, wrote: “Truly appreciate all the encouraging & supportive tweets we’ve been getting. God is Faithful and forgives- so thankful that you all are … Showing us such love and encouragement during this time.”

When the Rangers acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds in December 2007, they were aware of Hamilton’s off-the-field problems. 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.

Assistant hitting coach Johnny Narron’s primary role was to support the former No. 1 overall draft pick, but Narron left the Rangers in November for Milwaukee.

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

Daniels said the team was close to hiring someone for the job, a process that was already in the final stages before the latest incident. He said an announcement could come next week.

But Daniels said such a person likely wouldn’t have been with Hamilton during the offseason when he was home with his family, as was the case this week.

Hamilton can become a free agent after this season and had been talking to the Rangers about a contract extension.

“It would be nice if it was talking about a contract but we’ll put that on the back burner for a while,” Hamilton said before walking out of the room. Daniels concurred that he had agreed with Hamilton’s agent, Mike Moye, that contract talks would be put on hold. Daniels said there was no timetable for resuming them.

While Daniels said Hamilton’s relapse created a number of emotions, including disappointment, the GM said the overriding concern was for Hamilton and his family. Hamilton and his wife have four daughters, the youngest born last summer.

“For everybody who I have hurt, for everybody _ fans, kids, people who have addictions and look up to me _ I apologize to you,” he said. “When you’re doing this, you don’t mean to hurt anybody. You only think you’re hurting yourself. But as I know, you’re hurting a lot of people.”