Mike Napoli

Mike Napoli pulling for ex-teammate Josh Hamilton

John Tomase
February 28, 2015 - 5:15 am
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Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli spent two years in Texas with Josh Hamilton when the outfielder was at the height of his powers. He knows what a tremendous talent Hamilton is on the field, which made the news about Hamilton's looming suspension '€“ reportedly for a drug relapse involving cocaine and alcohol '€“ all the more sad. "It's unfortunate, man. It's just tough," Napoli said. "A lot of people deal with things in different ways. Obviously there's something wrong where he keeps relapsing, but it's sad. I feel for him and his family. I just wish him the best and hope that he gets better." Hamilton had been one of the feel-good stories of baseball, a former No. 1 overall pick who drank and drugged his way of the game before a renaissance in Texas from 2008-12. Since signing with the Angels before the 2013 season, however, Hamilton's star has burned less bright, and his latest transgression is sure to earn him a lengthy suspension. Napoli doesn't remember Hamilton struggling to stay on the straight and narrow in Texas. "It just seemed like he was living his normal life," he said. "It was never talked about. We were just regular people. We weren't talking about what he used to do or whatever. When I was there, he had (accountability partner) Johnny Narron, who took care of him and stuff on the road. There was never any sense that he was going to relapse and go down that path." Napoli recalls the Rangers altering their celebrations en route to the World Series in 2011 to accommodate Hamilton's lifestyle. "We celebrated with ginger ale, and then he'd leave and we'd all celebrate (with champagne)," Napoli said. In the end, Napoli hopes his former teammate can find himself again and overcome his addictions. "Some people just have that personality, where they just feel like they need it," he said. "It's hard. I feel for him. I hope he gets on the right path to get back to being a star baseball player, because when he's right and healthy and on the right path, he's another league above this as a talent. It's sad."

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