The Major League Baseball Players Association has come to the defense of Josh Hamilton, issuing a statement critical of news leaks that it calls "cowardly" and intended to hurt Hamilton "personally and professionally."
"It is regrettable that people who want to see Josh Hamilton hurt personally and professionally have started leaking information about the status of his treatment program and the confidential processes under our Joint Drug Agreement," said the union statement. "These anonymous leaks are cowardly, undermine the integrity of our collectively bargained agreements and in some instances have been wholly inaccurate.
"The Major League Baseball Players Association will use every right we have under the collective bargaining agreement to make sure Josh gets the help he needs, and the fair and confidential process to which he is entitled."
Hamilton, a five-time All-Star who signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in December 2012, suffered a relapse involving the use of cocaine and alcohol in the offseason, according to reports.
He met with MLB officials in New York last week as a precursor to possible disciplinary action.