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FRISCO, Texas (AP) — Josh Hamilton says he was rejected several times when he tried to speak to Angels owner Arte Moreno during the slugger's disappointing two-year stint in Los Angeles.
The 2010 American League MVP who returned to the Rangers in a trade last month said Saturday he reached out during both sub-par seasons after signing as a high-priced free agent. He said he tried again after self-reporting a cocaine and alcohol relapse and undergoing shoulder surgery this year.
Hamilton says he was turned away each time by general manager Jerry Dipoto or team president John Carpino.
"I told everybody from MLB to (manager) Mike Scioscia, even when I was there and wasn't playing in 2013, I wasn't being the guy that I was supposed to be," Hamilton said after reporting to Double-A Frisco for what figures to be his final rehabilitation assignment before returning to the majors with Texas.
"In 2014, same thing. I tried to reach out to the owner, Arte, and talk to him and tell him, 'You know what? I'm working my butt off, and I want to be the guy that played against you for all these years.' I was always turned down by the general manager and team president. They said they would let him know."
Hamilton said the same thing happened after his relapse and surgery, when he wanted to talk to Moreno and "reassure him that things are OK."
A spokesman for the Angels said the team would not comment on Hamilton's remarks.
Hamilton said the last time he spoke with Moreno was "sometime during the season" last year. The Angels reacted angrily when an arbitrator ruled in April that Hamilton could not be suspended for his latest relapse. Asked at the time whether Hamilton would play for the Angels again, Moreno said, "I will not say that."
An All-Star all five seasons in Texas before signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels, Hamilton hit just .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in two injury-plagued seasons with Los Angeles. He was 0 for 13 in an AL division series last year.
Hamilton averaged 28 homers and 101 RBIs per season with the Rangers, who will pay just $6 million of Hamilton's contract and he agreed to give up $14 million as part of the trade, leaving his deal at $111 million over five years. Hamilton will have the option of voiding the final year of the deal in 2017.
"I did what I needed to do, be the responsible man and employee, and reach out to him," Hamilton said. "I was denied that opportunity. So my hands are clean."
Hamilton spent time at extended spring training in Arizona and played six games with Triple-A Round Rock. He's expected to play four games with Frisco through Wednesday — all in the Dallas suburb about 40 miles from his home ballpark — before the club decides whether he's ready for the majors.
Texas finishes a three-game series in Boston on Thursday before a weekend set at the New York Yankees.
"When you haven't been yourself for a while, it's not that easy to just flip back over and do it every time," said Hamilton, who was 4 of 19 with two RBIs in Round Rock. "You need people around you that can remind you and help get you back to where you need to be."
It's the third rehab assignment in Frisco for Hamilton, who homered in the first of two games with the RoughRiders in May 2011. The Rangers went to their second of consecutive World Series later that year.
"I've grown up a little bit," Hamilton said. "I understand that I can't make up for lost time, so I need to prepare right now."
His return to the Rangers could come Thursday, when he turns 34.
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