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Devil Rays' Hamilton Suspended for Season

March 20, 2004|From Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Tampa Bay Devil Ray outfielder Josh Hamilton was suspended for the 2004 season for violating baseball's drug policy.

Hamilton already had been given a 30-day suspension Feb. 17. Under the new suspension announced Friday, he isn't eligible for reinstatement until spring training next year, the commissioner's office said.

Hamilton hasn't played since July 2002 because of injuries and unspecified personal issues.

The first overall pick in the 1999 amateur draft, he received a $3.96-million signing bonus out of high school. In 251 minor league games, he batted .295 with 33 homers and 166 RBIs.

"All we can do is hope that Josh Hamilton will be ready to participate in our 2005 spring training," Devil Ray General Manager Chuck Lamar said.

According to the rules of baseball's drug program, a major league player must test positive at least twice for drugs of abuse before being suspended, those drugs defined as a group that includes cocaine, LSD, opiates, Ecstasy, GHB and PCP.

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