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Josh Hamilton's allergies not linked to drug use, doctors say

The Angels slugger, who was banned from baseball from 2003-05 because of his addiction to drugs and alcohol, has allergies that lead to occasional sinus and throat discomfort and dizziness.

May 16, 2013|By Mike DiGiovanna

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Josh Hamilton said he was assured by doctors this week that the allergies that lead to occasional sinus and throat discomfort and dizziness were not caused or exacerbated by his heavy cocaine use from 2002-2005.

"You have a hallway up the middle of your nose and sinus cavities on each side," said Hamilton, whose addiction to drugs and alcohol led to a ban from baseball from 2003-2005. "When you breathe air, it goes up and down the hallway.

"Same thing when you do drugs, it goes up the hallway, not into the sinus cavities. I told the doctor I had never had allergies before I started doing any of that stuff, but he said [drug use] has nothing to do with it."

Hamilton, who has arranged a visit to an allergist, started at designated hitter for the second time in three games Thursday night.

Though the struggling outfielder — Hamilton entered Thursday with a .214 average, five home runs and 12 runs batted in — isn't sure whether his drug use will impede his ability to play baseball in the long term, he was relieved that his sinus issues weren't related to his cocaine use.

"You think about the consequences of the decisions you made, especially when you put things in your body that aren't good for you," Hamilton said. "But your body is a fascinating thing. It can heal itself. From the doctors I've talked to, it seems like the effects from the years of drug use have healed up."

Moving day

The Angels recalled two right-handers from triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday, reliever Ryan Brasier and starter Billy Buckner, who will pitch in long relief. To make room, left-hander Michael Roth was sent to double-A Arkansas and right-hander Barry Enright was designated for assignment.

Enright started twice in place of Tommy Hanson, who is on the restricted list, and failed to get out of the fourth inning in each game, both losses. The Angels have 10 days to trade or release him or, if he clears waivers, return him to Salt Lake.

The Angels will use Monday's off day to skip the fifth spot in the rotation. Manager Mike Scioscia said there's a chance Hanson could return in time to start May 25, the next day a fifth starter is needed.

Buckner will be the 21st pitcher the injury-ravaged Angels have used this season. The franchise record is 29 pitchers used in 1996.

"The roster is definitely a living organism right now," Scioscia said. "It keeps moving, it keeps rotating."

Rehab report

Two key relievers took significant steps in their return from injury Thursday, right-hander Kevin Jepsen (shoulder strain, out since April 12) and left-hander Sean Burnett (forearm irritation, out since April 27) throwing full-intensity bullpen workouts.

Jepsen expects to begin a minor league stint of one or two games this weekend, putting him in line to return late next week. Scioscia said Burnett will probably need one minor league game before being activated, perhaps by Tuesday.

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