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Ron Washington on Josh Hamilton: “What happened to Josh is part of recovery. That’s what relapse is. It’s a part of recovery.”

Josh Hamilton made an unfortunate appearance in the news last week for what is being described as an alcohol relapse.  The Texas Rangers outfielder reportedly had three or four drinks during a dinner, and then more later during the evening. Hamilton is a recovering drug addict and problematic drinker, and his road to a recovery in baseball made him a role model to many people who were recovering from drug and alcohol abuse.
The Texas Rangers as a team aren’t embarrassed about Hamilton’s slight relapse. Derek Holland and Ron Washington have come out and supported the 2010 American League MVP. The Rangers are gearing up for the 2012 season, believing that Hamilton will be just be fine when it comes time for spring training.

Ron Washington and Derek Holland joined ESPN Dallas with Ben and Skin to discuss how the team plans to handle all the hype and media attention that will surround recently acquired pitcher Yu Darvish, the unspoken rules Rangers players do a good job of implementing regarding  going out with Josh Hamilton on off days during the season, if Washington as manager will in any way need to interact differently with Josh Hamilton after his relapse,  if he’d agree with those who have described Hamilton as a once-in-a-generation type of pure talent, and the immediate reaction when the news of  Hamilton’s relapse broke.

How do you approach handling Yu Darvish?

Ron Washington: “Well how we are going to treat him is fair. We have criteria as far as how we want to prepare. He will have to fall into that criteria and if there is any adjustments we have to make we make adjustments. But there’s a pattern and we are going to follow that pattern and he’s going to have to get involved in that pattern and like I said we have to adjust to get him comfortable. We will adjust. I am certainly looking forward to him. I’ve only seen what everyone else has seen on video, but it certainly looked good enough to win at the major league level for me. I’m not expecting him to come win 20 games. If he can duplicate 16 [wins] like C.J. [Wilson] I am fine. The expectation is not too much. Come on out and keep us in the ball game. Just keep us in the ball game. That’s it. We’ll determine if you win or lose that ball game by the amount of runs we put up, but if you keep us in the ball game there is someone in that lineup we’ll find a way to get it done and that is it right there.”

Do you guys typically have unspoken or written rules about you handle going out with Josh Hamilton?

Ron Washington: “Well the players handle it real well. They go out to the movies with Josh on the road when there is off days. When we play early games they’ll usually have movies in the room and they’ll have popcorn brought up. They’ll find a place where they can go and maybe shoot some pool. They interact with Josh and what happened to Josh is part of recovery. That’s what relapse is. It’s a part of recovery and as Jon [Daniels] said ‘It’s not about baseball right now. It’s about Josh and his family.’ We as the Texas Rangers? We are going to support Josh. We are going to support Josh until…that’s it.”

Do you feel you have to interact differently with Josh Hamilton based on what happened last week?

Ron Washington: “No. I interact with Josh the same way I interact with everyone else. Of course you try to be fair with everyone. Sometimes with the circumstances you have to go beyond the call of duty. I am not afraid to go beyond the call of duty, but no my reaction with Josh is the same with everyone else. I talked to Josh the same. I act with Josh the same. I don’t really see the dangers that Josh dealt with every day. I know they are there, but I don’t see them. We try to treat him like one of the guys. That’s exactly what everyone does.”

Curt Schilling called Josh Hamilton a once in a generation talent and a franchise changer. Is that how you would evaluate his skills?

Ron Washington: “Well without a doubt. I mean he’s a five tool guy. He can run. He can hit. He can field. He can hit with power and he can throw. I think he’s shown that on a baseball field many nights. That talent don’t come around very often and we understand the demons Josh is dealing with. Right now as Jon (Daniels) said it’s about him and his family, getting him back to par and getting him into spring training and focusing on 2012. It’s not going to be a distraction for the Texas Rangers. We just 100% support Josh. We are going to move forward.”

We know you reacted on twitter. What was your feeling when the news of Josh Hamilton came down? What did you feel like you had to do?

Derek Holland: “First I didn’t even know anything was going on. I was out and surprised, so I had no clue what was going on. Once I had found out me as a person I wanted to give Josh all the support I can. He’s one of my teammates. He is like a brother to me. Those guys are people we look up to. It’s like Washington said he is one of those people that when we are on the road I played Xbox with him and stuff. We interact with him, so he doesn’t feel like he is left out. We make him a part of this team because he is. He is a key member to this team, but at the same time it is all about supporting him. This is a tough thing for him to go through and it’s our job to be behind him and show that we care about him and that we are there for him.

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