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Nolan Ryan rips Josh Hamilton for timing of giving up tobacco

October 11, 2012|By Houston Mitchell
  • Josh Hamilton hit 43 homers for the Rangers this season.
Josh Hamilton hit 43 homers for the Rangers this season. (Larry W. Smith / EPA )

Texas Rangers President Nolan Ryan criticized Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton for giving up chewing tobacco during the season instead of waiting for the off-season.

"His timing on quitting smokeless tobacco couldn't have been worse," Ryan told Dallas radio program "Galloway and Company." "You would've liked to have thought that if he was going to do that that he would've done it in the off-season or waited until this off-season to do it. So the drastic effect that it had on him and the year that he was having up to that point in time that he did quit, you'd have liked that he would've taken a different approach to that. So those issues caused unrest, and it's unfortunate that it happened and the timing was such as it was."

Hamilton said in August that he felt his trying quit chewing tobacco was partly responsible for his second-half slump. He finished the season with a .285 average, with 43 homers and 128 RBIs. In the second half, his numbers were .259, 16 and 53.

Hamilton has had a very publicized issue with drug abuse, and the Rangers have been very supportive of him during his quest to remain clean. Which makes the criticism of his quitting tobacco curious.

Ryan was also asked if he thought Hamilton quit caring down the stretch.

"You know, that’s really a tough term to say somebody quit. He had an issue, he was under a magnifying glass and things didn’t go well.... I have no reason to think he quit. It didn’t go well. It didn’t look good and only Josh knows what was in his heart and what was in his mind.

"I think Josh was put in a tough situation that he probably hadn’t ever been in before and he was somewhat perplexed by it. When we’re put in situations that we haven’t dealt with before, we don’t know how we’re going to react to them. I think what we saw was Josh reacting to an awfully tough situation."

Hamilton is now a free agent. And it doesn't sound like he will be back in Texas. How about an Angels outfield of Trumbo, Trout and Hamilton? Or a Dodgers outfield of Hamilton, Kemp and Ethier?

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