Since Josh Hamilton’s most recent, high publicized substance abuse relapse, the Angels have made no secret of their desire to use the incident as a get-out-of-the-onerous-contract card. After learning this week that Hamilton’s self-reportage slippage won’t absolve them of their contractual commitments, the former Anaheim ball club responded by giving the outfielder’s locker away (something Randy L. and the Yankees never did to A-Rod), followed by owner Arte Moreno (above) suggested the born-again reprobate would never again wear an Angels uniform. Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown considers a situation in which “the Angels continue to act as though Hamilton’s struggle with addiction is a personal affront to them.”

Moreno hinted at language in Hamilton’s contract that would protect him from Hamilton’s relapse. Hamilton is due $83 million over the next three seasons. The union almost certainly would contest an attempt to dock Hamilton’s salary or void his contract, no matter the circumstance, and in fact did almost before Moreno had completed the thought. That Hamilton was found to be within the guidelines of the drug agreement would seem to further undo Moreno’s plan.

“We have a contract with Hamilton and that contract has specific language, that he signed and that was approved, that said he could not drink or use drugs,” Moreno said. He added, “There is the possibility of pursuing it.”

Within a couple hours, the Players Association responded, “The MLBPA emphatically denies Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno’s assertions from earlier today that the Angels had requested and received the approval of the union to insert language into Josh Hamilton’s contract that would supersede the provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement and/or the Basic Agreement. To the contrary, the collectively bargained provisions of the JDA and the Basic Agreement supersede all other player contract provisions and explicitly prevent clubs from exactly the type of action Mr. Moreno alluded to in his press comments today.”